Teresa Planas, a student at the Universitat de Barcelona, swam 39.8K (21.3 nautical miles) across the Menorca Channel (Canal de Menorca) from the Balearic island of Menorca to the island of Mallorca in the Mediterranean Sea in September 2011, setting the overall world record in 12 hours 18 minutes 42 seconds.

Born on Pòrtol on the island of Mallorca, Teresa became the first local swimmer and seventh person overall to succeed in the Menorca Channel.

A former national-level 200-meter butterflyer, Teresa got her first taste of open water swimming at the Travesia a nado Formentor, a 7K race in Mallorca that she frequently won in her aquatic backyard. Although her promising pool swimming career was cut short by an injury, and she chose to focus on her university studies, she never stopped swimming. As she told Jose Diaz, “I decided that I wanted to have extra motivation. I knew that as he had never stopped swimming, it cost me to get back into rhythm. I remembered that I really like the sea, I’m good swim in it and wanted to do something big, unusual and Balearic Islands. Thus arose the idea of ​​crossing the Canal de Menorca.” Once determined, planning and preparation became her focus. But the swim was not only about her dreams. Her swim was benefitted the Spanish Cancer Society as a symbol of the struggle against adversity cancer patients have to go through every day.

Teresa Planas broke the record with only seconds to spare as certified by the Menorca Channel Swimming Association. The previous record was set by Miquel Suñer Comalat in 2009 in 12 hours and 19 minutes. As she graciously and humbly recalls with Nadandolibre, “In the end, I sprinted for 200 meters and I beat that time, but do I think that is 100% relevant, since in the sea a lot can happen and those 18 seconds I have broken the record with can be the result of coincidence or chance.”

Kendall Mellor (UK) was the first person to ever undertake the Menorca Channel in 1968 with a time of 16 hours and 18 minutes. It has also been crossed by luminaries in marathon swimming like Kevin Murphy (15 hours 41 minutes in 1972) and Montserrat Tresserras (21 hours 7 minutes in 1969) and most recently by Selina Moreno Pasagali (18 hours 20 minutes in 2010).

Jose Diaz of Nadandolibre covered Teresa’s Menorca Channel swim in detail here. The exciting finish can be seen below:

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