(ots). No one can imitate her: Natalie Paul from Marburg recently became the first German to master the 47 km swim between the Hawaiian islands of Molokai and Oahu. An incredible feat, as the canal is the world’s toughest and, above all, the longest stretch of open water. The extraordinary athlete battled through the water for 15:05 hours, at times in complete darkness with more than 50,000 arm strokes.
But the length of the course isn’t the only thing that makes the swim such a challenge. Hawaii is also known for its dangerous marine life. In addition to sharks, the Portuguese galley lives there, a particularly poisonous jellyfish. Contact with the tentacles, which are up to 50 meters long, is extremely painful and can lead to skin injuries, severe swelling and difficulty breathing. A real nightmare in the middle of the ocean, unfortunately Natalie Paul came true: “I was close to my goal, and of course my arms and legs burned from the effort. But suddenly an incredible stabbing pain really choked me,” reports the 27-year-old swimmer. While the tentacles leave a bright red color everywhere, She encourages herself: “I didn’t stay up all night to give up near the finish line.”
And so she keeps swimming. As she climbs wearily out of the water at Oahu’s Sandy Beach, everyone realizes the magnitude of the encounter. The team immediately responds and organizes medical assistance, but Natalie Paul still has a smile on her face – because no one can take this victory away from her.
For the extreme swimmer, this crossing is the fifth of seven stages of the Ocean’s Seven, the seven most important straits in the world. Natalie Paul wants to win this challenge as the first German woman to wear only a bathing suit, bathing cap and swimming goggles. Her long-time coach Joshua Newlow, who supports her from the dinghy every time she swims, explains: »Everything has to be right to pull off such a performance: starting with intensive preparation, through logistical planning and on-site support for care when swimming from a boat. « The extreme swimmer trains for hours a day in the water and in the gym. Last year alone she swam more than 1000 km. But if you want to survive in the oceans, you don’t just have to be physically fit. That’s why Natalie Paul has been working on her mental strength for years to push herself beyond the limits of performance in extreme conditions on the water. A skill that helped her swim through pain. Her big goal, completing the Ocean’s Seven, is now within reach: she still needs to cross the Cook Strait between New Zealand’s North and South Islands and the North Channel between Ireland and Scotland.
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