Shahar Cohen swam and juggled for more miles. Shahar Cohen swam and juggled for more miles. Shahar Cohen swam and juggled across the Sea of Galilee. (Photo: Courtesy photo)

Record breaking: Man swims across sea – while juggling!

Shahar Cohen is at the forefront of new sports trends 'swuggling' and ‘fire football.’

Yes, many people can walk and chew gum at the same time. But how about swimming while juggling?

Meet Shahar Cohen. The 46-year-old Israeli made history this month when he swam more than two miles across the Sea of Galilee – while juggling. The entire process, compounded by a zigzagged route and dropped balls, took more than three hours to complete. But he did it. While others have swam and juggled at the same time – a sport dubbed "swuggling" – Cohen's epic feat is believed to be the longest on the record books.

You can watch some of the swim here:

Want another angle? Here's a view from Cohen's point of view, thanks to a head-mounted camera:

So what's the scoop behind this odd phenomenon? It all started with a broken back. "I was lying in bed and, literally, I could not move," Cohen told From The Grapevine when we caught up with him via Skype. Lying in a lounge chair by a nearby pool, Cohen recounted for us how he tried to recover from a slipped disc.

"There's this whole world of water floating," he explained. "The thing is, in order to float on the water you need to find a way to lay your body in certain ways. And this is actually exactly what we all need for balance. It relaxes the muscles and strengthens others. These exercises, I found them to be extremely therapeutic. It's just great."

Cohen invented the special water-proof juggling balls.Cohen invented the special water-proof juggling balls. (Photo: Courtesy photo)

OK, so he had a broken back and he used water exercises to recuperate. That's all fine and dandy, but how did juggling enter the equation? Well, it turns out, Cohen's in the juggling business. He founded a company called Speevers. They sell all kinds of juggling equipment – everything from spinning plates to glow-in-the-dark juggling pins. He even made special water-resistant swuggling balls.

Notice the extra ball on Shahar Cohen's forehead.Notice the extra ball on Shahar Cohen's forehead. (Photo: Courtesy photo)

"One of my agendas in this business is to get juggling out of the circus tent," he said. "I want to make it more accessible to not only professionals but all people."

The Sea of Galilee event combined those two parts of his life. "Basically, I was looking to get my own ass off the couch," he said with a laugh. Cohen joins a long line of inspirational people who swam across oceans.

As the owner of a juggling supply company, Cohen knows the ups and downs of his business.As the owner of a juggling supply company, Cohen knows the ups and downs of his business. (Photo: Courtesy photo)

Not one to rest on just one odd sports invention, Cohen and his friends have been known to play another: "Fire Football" (or soccer as it's known here in the U.S.). Teammates play barefoot using a Kevlar-coated ball on fire. Asked if it hurts, he replied, "You get more hurt by the kicks of the people." Watch him in action in the video below:

The Israeli native also invented "mall juggling," which is exactly what it sounds like: running around a mall, while juggling. Oh, and also running up the down escalator and down the up escalator, all while juggling.

As for what's next for Cohen, he has another goal in mind: He wants to run up the staircase of the Empire State Building – all 86 flights and 1,576 stairs – while juggling. He'll get his chance this February when he hopes to participate in the 2017 Empire State Building Run-Up. "I'm not sure I'm really in shape for doing this, but I will try."

And after that? "My next goal is to complete a triathlon while juggling." If he does, he'd break another record, and hopefully not his back.

Cohen practicing his running and juggling skills, simultaneously.Cohen practicing his running and juggling skills, simultaneously. (Photo: Courtesy photo)


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