Israeli Team Swims From Cyprus to Israel, Breaking World Record

After fierce sea storm cut last year's attempt short, six man group swims for six days and breaks Guinness World Record for longest open sea group relay swim.

An Israeli team broke the Guinness World Record for the longest open sea group relay swim on Saturday, reaching the Israeli coast after swimming 380 km from Cyprus.

Israeli swimmers arrive at Marina in Herzliya after swimming from Cyprus.
AFP

The six-man team, Udi Arel, Ori Sela, Doron Amosi, Ben Anosh, Luke Shetbon and Oded Rahav, set off from the beach at Paphos on Sunday, swam in four-to-five kilometers turns for six days.

According to the rules, the group must keep the same order of swimmers throughout the entire distance. The swimmers cannot touch the yacht or use special suits to protect them from the cold and the jellyfish.

The previous record was held by an American team of six swimmers, who swam 366 kilometers about a year-and-a-half ago.

This was the Israeli team's second attempt at the record, after they had to cut the swim short last year after encountering a furious storm at sea after three days of swimming. Only three days after returning to Israel last October, the group met in Rosh Ha’ayin and decided to try again this year.

The team was followed by a yacht, which tracked the swimmers' position via a chip on their person – also serving to reduce the possibility of hitting the swimmer, one of the most dangerous possibilities in the dark.

The support team on the yacht included a chef, two skippers for the boat accompanying the swim, and a photographer - who is needed to prove there really are people crazy enough to do such things of their own free will.

Another goal was to raise money for the Zalul (Clear) nonprofit organization, an environmental group dedicated to protecting the seas and rivers of Israel. “Beyond the record, we want to cause people to love the sea and enjoy challenges. The [plastic] bags, the pollution and the smell bother us at crazy levels and this is the message we must pass on,” Ori Sela told Haaretz before the relay.