Aspen swimmer Jennifer Figge doesn’t consider herself to be a great swimmer—or even a good swimmer for that matter—but she can say that she has completed her second “swim” across the Atlantic Ocean.
According to The Denver Post, Figge, 57, swam 300 miles of the 2,186-mile trip, about 50 more miles than she was able to complete the first time. She swam from Cape Verde off the west coast of Africa to Trinidad, the tiny island nation off the northern tip of South America, spending 30 of 31 straight days in the ocean. A support boat traveled with her, and to avoid sharks she got out of the water each night and wore an ankle bracelet that emits a deterrent electronic wave. Figge also faced unrelenting sunshine, and playful pilot whales, including one that shot at her “like a torpedo from under the boat.”
Figge’s first trans-Atlantic swim became mired in controversy when people claimed that she hadn’t swam the entire way, since she spent time huddled on the support boat when 30-foot seas emerged. This time, she carefully documented her times and distances in the water, and how far the boat drifted when she was on it.
Several other people have completed the trip, and there is no standard on what counts as swimming across the Atlantic. Figge doesn’t really care.
“I’m not out here for a record,” she tells the Post. “Someone once asked if I was doing it for God, gold or glory. I said none of the above. I’m doing this because I love swimming in the ocean. Someday, if I’m lucky enough to be a grandma and I’m telling my grandkids a bedtime story, I want to be able to say I didn’t quit.”