Kiwi conquers shark-infested swim

  • 10/08/2015
Kiwi conquers shark-infested swim

By Kim Vinnell

Kiwi Kim Chambers has become the first woman to swim across the world's most dangerous stretch of water.

The 38-year-old is only the fifth person since 1960 to complete the swim from the Farallones Islands to mainland San Francisco – an area known for its great white sharks, which head there to breed in September.

Chambers is exhausted, but triumphant.

"I'm completely overwhelmed," she says. "This is something I've wanted for so long."

With the New Zealand flag on her cap, she swam for almost 18 hours through the world's most shark-infested stretch of water.

"It was a really tough swim, so I was pretty ill in the middle of the night and I couldn't keep any food down. I thought my swim was over. I need to feed every 30 minutes but I couldn't keep anything down."

Pushing her body and mind to the limit, Chambers was spurred on by her mother, who had flown from New Zealand.

"I was amazed how she had such mental fortitude," says mother Jocelyn Chambers. "She's exhausted, but she wasn't giving up. I totally admire her for that. She's an inspiration."

Eight years ago doctors told Chambers she may never walk again, when a freak fall had them on the verge of amputating her leg. The former ballerina proved them wrong and found a new love – swimming.

"This is what happens when you're scared of big dreams – you just do them, and then this happens," she says.

Using fear as a driver, she has made the history books at the same time.

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