Information courtesy of Marathon Swimmers Federation, photos courtesy of Arik Thormahlen.

Jaimie Monahan, the 2016 and 2017 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year, completed six different marathon swims on six continents, traveling 26,000 miles in 16 days between August 13th – 28th.

The 39-year-old swimmer from New York explained her goals and experiences in her Marathon Swimmers Federation ratification documents, “This challenge was a personal project to complete 6 marathon swims on 6 continents in 16 days and set a Guinness World Record for shortest elapsed time to complete a marathon swim on 6 continents.

Over the course of just over 2 weeks, we flew 26,000 miles with our Oru Bay ST Kayak and kit, swam a marathon (between 10 km to 46 km) in each destination and enjoyed an amazing adventure with friends around the world. Combined with ice miles in Antarctica [done in] March 2018 and Greenland [completed in] July 2018, we enjoyed exciting swims on all seven continents and both ends of the earth in just six months.

In this day and age, almost everything has been done. But while historical explorers enjoyed a wide range of undiscovered territory to discover, travel logistics in this day and age are so much simpler. I thought it would be fun to design a challenge to take advantage of our modern conveniences like quick and comfortable air travel, easy hotel bookings, and amazing innovations like the Oru portable origami kayak.

Jetting around the world, we literally were going from chilly winter to the height of summer in alternating locations. We faced extreme water temperatures on either end ranging from 15°C in beautiful Sydney, Australia during their winter, to 34°C in tropical locations like Colombia, Singapore, and Egypt.

Adverse currents and poisonous jellyfish also posted a risk to the project, but we persevered and had a great time.

Overall, it was an amazing experience. Just being able to see the world on fast forward was an incredibly exciting and beautiful journey.

Getting stung by jellyfish in Alexandria, Egypt was painful, but it was completely outweighed by the beauty of getting caught in a rainstorm in Singapore, swimming along Sydney’s stunning coastline, or swimming through the clear cool waters of beautiful Lac Leman, Switzerland. The final swim of the challenge, a 46 km circumnavigation of Manhattan Island in New York City was a huge high – seeing amazing landmarks like the Statue of Liberty, Freedom Tower, and completing the challenge in my own home waters was incredibly meaningful.”

Swim #1: South America
On August 13th 2018 from Pendales to Corales del Rosario National Park in Cartagena, Colombia
With observers Arik Thormahlen and Santiago Marin Piedrahita, and pilots Johnes Luis Pimentes Avila and Oscar Bedoya, Cartagena, Colombia, Monahan completed a 10.2 km swim in 5 hours 25 minutes 1 second in 30 – 32.7°C water.

Swim #2: Oceana
On August 17th 2018 from Little Bay Beach to Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia
With observer Vlad Mravec, pace swimmer Dean Summers, and kayaker Arik Thormahlen, Monahan completed a 10.5 km swim in 4 hours 11 minutes 12 seconds in 15°C water.

Swim #3: Asia
On August 20th 2018 along the length of East Coast Park
With pilot-observer Kelvin Tan and kayaker Arik Thormahlen, Monahan completed a 10.5 km swim in 3 hours 27 minutes 13 seconds in 29°C water.

Swim #4: Africa
On August 24th 2018 from Al’Mina Ash Sharqiyah Marina in Eastern Harbour to Beau Rivage Jetty in Alexandria Egypt

With observer Ahmed Badawy, observer Adem Badawy, and kayaker Arik Thormahlen, Monahan completed a 10.5 km in 5 hours 21 minutes in 30°C water.

Swim #5: Europe
On August 24th 2018 from Lausanne Switzerland to Evian-les-Bains France
With event organizer Tim Davies and kayaker Arik Thormahlen, Monahan completed the 13 km Geneva Classic in Lake Geneva in 4 hours 50 minutes in 20°C water.

Swim #6: North America
On August 28th 2018 around Manhattan Island
With observer Janine Serell, escort boat pilot Sean Makofsky, and kayaker Arik Thormahlen, Monahan completed the 45.9 km circumnavigation swim around Manhattan Island starting and ending at Pier A in 9 hours 43 minutes.

She summarized, “When we finished, I knew it all worked out the way it was supposed to, ending our project at home with a lap around my beautiful Manhattan.”

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