US Woman First to Swim Atlantic

56-year-old American churns from Africa to Trinidad in 24 days
By Amelia Atlas,  Newser User
Posted Feb 8, 2009 6:24 AM CST

(Newser) – A 56-year-old American became the first woman to swim across the Atlantic, completing a 24-day journey from Africa's Cape Verde Islands to Trinidad, reports the BBC. Jennifer Figge of Colorado swam up to 8 hours at a stretch, protected by a cage to fend off sharks. She swam approximately 2,100 miles, though the exact distance has yet to be measured. Figge plans to continue on to the British Virgin Islands, which was her first goal until she was blown off course.

A support boat ran alongside her, with staffers throwing energy drinks to the swimmer. In  choppy waters, divers handed them to her directly. She burned 8000 calories each day, and started the mornings with pasta breakfasts. Figge, who first dreamed of swimming the ocean when she was a little girl, saw turtles, dolphins and whales—but no sharks. "I was never scared," she said.