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Swimmers compete to break epic long record: Who can swim the Amazon the fastest?

Posted Nov 19 2010 12:43pm

Serb Serbian swimmer Darko Novovic has set a new World record for swimming the 5,450 kms of the Amazon river in just over 46 days according to news reports today. In doing so he broke Slovenia’s legendary Martin Strel's record by 20 days.

The 37 year old professional water polo player began his record breaking feat on September 29th in Atalaya, Peru (near to the source of the Amazon) and swam on average 16 hours and 118kms a day. Novovic finished the epic swim at the mouth of the Amazon in the Atlantic Ocean at Belem, Brazil on November 13th. The Amazon River is the largest River in the world with a total discharge greater than the next ten rivers combined.

Swimming it can be extremely challenging. Dark tannin stained waters contain bacteria which can blind you, dangerous undercurrents can pull you under and it plays host to crocodiles,bull sharks, piranhas and more worryingly candiru (also known as vampire fish) a parasite which is attracted by the scent of urine and enters the body by swimming up the penis where it feeds on blood and tissue. To keep predators at bay a net cage was suspended between two of the four Venezuelan yachts that accompanied him during the swim.

Amazon-river According to the Guardian Newspaper :

"Novovic decided to take on the challenge after ribbing from fellow Serbs about Strel, who held successive world records for swimming the Danube, Mississippi, Yangtze, and Amazon and whose attempt to swim the latter was captured in the award-winning documentary Big Man River. "Our folks in the diaspora made bets that I would overtake Martin Strel and that's how it started. It took Novovic two and a half years to prepare for the challenge.He previous swims have included the English Channel, the Adriatic sea from Bari to Petrovac and Athens to Herceg Novi.

Novovic said that he will donate any funds raised to the quake hit town of Kraljevo, Serbia and to help build a pier around the church near Petrovac, Montenegro. Apon his return to Belgrade he also unveiled his next challenge, swimming along the Danube from the Schwartz Wald mountain to the Black Sea."

Thanks to our British correspondent Danny Ward for this story

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