Matthieu Bonne has swum 131 kilometres in 60 hours and 55 minutes in the Gulf of Corinth in Greece, setting a new world record for open-water swimming. The previous record, held by Maltese Olympian Neil Agius, was 125.7 kilometres.
Bonne (29) began his world record attempt on Thursday, a day later than planned due to strong winds and excessive waves. A nine-man team in a boat and on shore supported the Belgian lifeguard.
The ultra athlete chose the Gulf of Corinth in Greece because he could swim more than 100 kilometres in a straight line. The water in the Greek sea is also much warmer than the North Sea, although it was colder than expected. On top of the exertion and lack of sleep, Bonne suffered from swollen lips in the last few kilometres due to the salty seawater.
"My first goal is to break the current world record of 125.7km, but if I still feel good after this distance and Poseidon favours me, I intend to swim as long as I can," he said at the start of his record attempt.
My ultimate dream is to break 3 world records in 1 year
Bonne already has several records to his name. In March, he broke the cycling world record, covering 3,619.72 kilometres in seven days. He has completed eight Ironman races on the Canary Islands in eight days. "My ultimate dream is to break 3 world records in 1 year," said a determined Bonne on Thursday before diving into the Greek sea.