Israeli swimmer Israeli swimmer One of the members of the Israeli team during their record-breaking swim. (Photo: Cyprus-Israel Swim)

5 inspirational people who swam across oceans

From senior citizens to young athletes, this record-breaking group inspires.

When you stare out across the ocean, a lot of things may come to mind: The sheer beauty of the water, the varied marine life underneath, the vast open space. But diving in and swimming from one end to the other? Probably not. These athletes, however, stared out across the ocean and thought: Why not?

Emboldened by the most recent record-setting attempt this month, we've rounded up our favorite swimming adventurers. Be inspired by their triumphs.


1. Doron Amosi, Ben Anosh, Udi Arel, Oded Rahav, Ori Sela and Luke Shetbon

Israeli swimmersThis Israeli team broke the Guinness World Record for an open-water relay swim. (Photo: Cyprus-Israel swim)

Earlier this month, six men swam across the Mediterranean from Cyprus to Israel, with the hopes of raising awareness for cleaner oceans. The team's eldest member, Udi Arel, is 66 years old. The sextet swam for 123 hours and broke the Guinness World Record for an open-water relay with their 236-mile swim. The team credits their strength to their vegan diet.


2. Benoît Lecomte

Benoit LecomteFrench marathon swimmer Benoit Lecomte prepares to jump into the Potomac River in Washington, D.C., in 2002. (Photo: Manny Ceneta/AFP/Getty Images) 

The French-born Benoît Lecomte is widely credited for being the first man to swim across the Atlantic Ocean without a kickboard. In 1998 he battled storms and 20-foot-high waves, evaded sharks and swam 3,716 miles in 73 days. His swim helped raise money for cancer research in memory of his father. Lecomte plans to swim the Pacific Ocean in early 2015 from Japan to California, a journey of about 5,500 miles. Part of the reason for the swim is to raise awareness about sustainability and the impact of garbage polluting the world's oceans.


3. Diana Nyad

Diana NyadLong-distance swimmer Diana Nyad speaks at the Salute to Women In Sports Awards in New York City. (Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for the Women's Sports Foundation)

In 2013, Diana Nyad became the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without a protective cage. It was the 64-year-old's fifth attempt at the approximately 100-mile swim. Shortly after completing the swim, she said she had learned three lessons. "One is we should never, ever give up. Two is you never are too old to chase your dreams. Three is it looks like a solitary sport, but it's a team," she told CNN. Nyad has said that her swim was to help bring awareness to the issue of sexual abuse. She has since become an author, motivational speaker and contestant on "Dancing with the Stars."


4. Gertrude Ederle

Gertrude EderleGertrude Ederle became the first woman to swim across the English Channel in 1926. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons) 

Dubbed the "Queen of the Waves" by the media, U.S.-born swimmer Gertrude Ederle became the first woman to swim across the English Channel in 1926. The trip took more than 14 hours. Her record stood until 1950 when fellow American swimmer Florence Chadwick swam the channel in 13 hours and 20 minutes. When Ederle returned home, more than 2 million people lined the streets of New York City at a ticker-tape parade. She died in 2003 at the age of 98.


5. Veljko Rogošić

Veljko RogošićWorld record swimmer Veljko Rogošić circumnavigated the globe six times. (Photo: YouTube) 

Veljko Rogošić, a Croatian marathon swimmer known as the "King of Cold Waters," holds the world record for longest distance ever swum in open ocean without flippers. He swam 140 miles across the Adriatic Sea in a little more than 50 hours. During his career, he swam across many rivers, including the Nile and the Mississippi. According to some counts, Rogošić circumvented the Earth six times. He died in 2012 at the age of 71.

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