Woman Completes 'World's Toughest Swim'

She braved sharks to swim 30 miles to Golden Gate Bridge
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 10, 2015 3:04 AM CDT
SF Woman Completes 'World's Toughest Swim'
In this Oct. 1, 2014, photo, Kim Chambers treads water at the wharf in San Francisco.   (Liz Hafalia/San Francisco Chronicle via AP)

A San Francisco resident has become the first woman to swim the 30-mile stretch from the Farallon Islands to the Golden Gate Bridge and conquer one of the world's most dangerous crossings. Kim Chambers, 38, dove in the cold water late Friday and passed under the bridge about 17 hours later. She was followed by a boat carrying her mother and about 16 crew members who watched for dangers. Four men have completed the Farallones to Golden Gate swim, through a stretch of water notorious for great white sharks that are attracted to elephant seals on the cluster of islands off the San Francisco coast.

A former ballerina, Chambers took up swimming to rehabilitate from an accident in which she nearly lost a leg. "You are really playing with the wild and the elements of the ocean. It is very scary because of all the great white sharks out there. We are nudging the boundary of safety," she tells the Guardian, which calls the stretch of water "the world's most difficult swim." Before this swim, Chambers became the sixth person (and third woman) to complete the Ocean's Seven, a collection of marathon swimming challenges, including the Strait of Gibraltar, the Molokai Channel in Hawaii, and the North Channel from northern Ireland to Scotland, where she endured hundreds of jellyfish stings during a 13-hour successful crossing. (More Farallon Islands stories.)

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