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10.02.2009 International

Woman swims Atlantic


A 56-year-old American has become the first woman to swim the Atlantic.

Jennifer Figge took 24 days to swim from the Cape Verde islands off Africa to Trinidad, reports the BBC.

Figge, who had originally planned to make landfall in the Bahamas, now plans to finish by swimming from Trinidad to the British Virgin Islands.

She first dreamed of swimming across the Atlantic Ocean as a little girl.

The swimmer left Cape Verde Islands on 12 January, facing waves of up to 30 ft. She swam inside a cage to protect her from sharks.

Each day she would spend up to eight hours in the water at a stretch before returning to her support boat.

Crew members would throw the athlete energy drinks as she swam along, if it was too stormy divers would deliver them in person.

She saw pilot whales, turtles, and dolphins, but no sharks.

"I was never scared," she said. "Looking back, I wouldn't have it any other way. I can always swim in a pool."

Jennifer Figge's journey comes 10 years after a French swimmer, Benoit Lecomte, made the first known solo trans-Atlantic swim covering 4,000 miles in 73 days.