An American breast cancer survivor yesterday became the first person to swim across the English Channel four times non-stop in a 54-hour feat of endurance.
Sarah Thomas, 37, an open water marathon swimmer from the US state of Colorado, could be seen in a video posted on Facebook arriving at Dover with a group of supporters cheering her on.
“I feel a little sick,” she is heard saying following the herculean effort, which reportedly saw her cover close to 209kms due to strong tides.
Only four swimmers have previously completed the approximately 21-mile Channel crossing between Britain and France three times without stopping.
“I just can’t believe we did it,” Thomas told the BBC. “I’m really just pretty numb.
“There was a lot of people on the beach to meet me and wish me well and it was really nice of them, but I feel just mostly stunned.”
Thomas said the hardest part was dealing with the salt water, which left her throat and mouth sore, while she also got stung in the face by a jellyfish.
The athlete relied on a protein recovery drink mixed with electrolytes and caffeine — which was tied to a rope and thrown to her every 30 minutes — to complete the feat, according to her mother.
Endurance swimmer Lewis Pugh wrote on Twitter that her achievement was “extraordinary, amazing, super-human”.
“Just when we think we’ve reached the limit of human endurance, someone shatters the records,” he wrote.
In a post on Saturday before setting off, Thomas wrote: “This swim is dedicated to all the survivors out there. This is for those of us who have prayed for our lives, who have wondered with despair about what comes next, and have battled through pain and fear to overcome.”