Open water swimming: Pole swims across English channel, wins major title

Aleksandra Bednarek from Łódź, central Poland, has become the first Pole to win the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming after swimming the English Channel on Tuesday.

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“I swam for 13 hours and 17 minutes. In a straight line it is 36 km, but due to the currents the route was longer. I suppose that I swam about 40 km to 45 km, but I still do not know exactly,” the swimmer said.

The Łódź University of Technology announced the student’s achievement on Wednesday.

“We are delighted with the success of Ola Bednarek, who is a student (...) in the field of biomedical engineering. She is a Master’s student, which she takes very seriously, just as her open water swimming and winter swimming, which she also practises. As a career she wants to design equipment supporting athletes,” the University spokesperson, Ewa Chojnacka said.

In 2018, Aleksandra Bednarek was the first Polish woman to cross the Catalina Channel off the coast of the US, a distance of 34km, which she swam in a little over 12 hours. Thanks to this achievement, the World Open Water Swimming Association nominated her for the prestigious Woman of the Year award, which she won fending off competition from 15 other nominees.

The student athlete’s next challenge was circumnavigating Manhattan Island in New York. She took part in an event called the 20 Bridges Swim, covering 46.5 km in the waters of the Hudson River. She completed the swim in 7 hours, 7 minutes and 34 seconds.