Chilean 'Ice Mermaid' Breaks Swimming World Record – Latino Rebels

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Bárbara Hernández, a Chilean ice swimmer, holds the Guinness World Record for swimming one nautical mile in quarter-hour and three seconds between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans within the Chilean Antarctica Region. (Courtesy of Bárbara Hernández)

Swimmer Bárbara Hernández Huerta formally holds a Guinness World Record by swimming one nautical mile in quarter-hour and three seconds between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans within the Antarctica Region south of her native Chile.

Hernández, nicknamed “Sirena de Hielo” (Ice Mermaid), is a part of a small, but rising variety of ice swimmers. Without the heat of a neoprene wetsuit, these swimmers take part in one of the crucial excessive journey sports activities, dunking their our bodies into waters as chilly as 41 levels Fahrenheit and generally colder.

Aside from breaking a world report, Hernández was additionally just lately acknowledged by the Open Water Association for being the primary individual to swim three nautical miles between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

“There’s very few Latinas that do this sport, but we’re building the community,” Hernández advised Latino Rebels.

Hernández is one in every of a handful of Latina swimmers within the chilling sport. There isn’t any official quantity, however the International Ice Swimming Association lists a complete of three,748 members worldwide.

The World Open Water Swimming Association named Hernández one of many World’s 50 Most Adventurous Open Water Women in 2019. The record included girls who “do extreme swims or pioneer unprecedented open water swims of note.”

Hernández was one in every of 4 Latinas on the record and the one one of many group who swims in icy waters.

Hernández started swimming when she was six years outdated, however she wouldn’t immerse herself within the freezing world of ice swimming for at the least one other 20 years. Growing up, Hernandez wasn’t the very best swimmer in her cohort, however her ardour for the game didn’t fade.

“I learned to swim, not for medals since I didn’t win any, but because I loved the sea, I loved being there, and I have always felt that it is my home. That is where I belong,” Hernández stated.

On a cold July day in 2014, over 50 swimmers from everywhere in the world gathered earlier than the Perito Moreno glacier for the primary annual Argentina Winter Swimming Festival — Hernández was amongst them. She stated she was the one one who hadn’t but swam below icy circumstances. She didn’t know what to anticipate, however she knew she wanted to expertise it.

“I entered the frozen water, and in the water I realized that I liked it, that I was good, that I was strong and fast. That is where I discovered the world of ice swimming,” Hernández recalled.

As she plunged into the frigid waters, throughout from a glacier towering 240 toes above the floor of the ocean, Hernández started her profession as a winter swimmer. Two years later, she traveled to Russia to compete within the Winter Swimming World Championships hosted by the International Winter Swimming Association. Hernández gained the 450 and 200-meter freestyle swim.

Since then, she has participated in two extra Winter Swimming World Championships and earned over 10 medals.

As she mirrored on her profession whereas talking with Latino Rebels final Friday, Hernández stated she couldn’t assist however consider herself as somewhat lady.

“It’s like seeing eight-year-old Bárbara who would cry because she wasn’t fast, because she couldn’t buy herself a swimsuit, and telling her to hold on and persist because dreams do come true,” Hernandez stated.

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Chantal Vaca is a summer time correspondent for Futuro Media based mostly in New York City and a graduate of the Columbia University School of Journalism. Twitter: @VacaChantal




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