At midnight on Saturday Sigrún Þuríður Geirsdóttir became the first Icelandic woman to swim alone across the English Channel. She finished the swim in 23 hours and thirty minutes according to Sigrún’s Facebook page.
Sigrún set off of Friday night, RÚV reports. She started from Dover on the south coast of England at midnight on Friday and swam all day Saturday until she came ashore a Cape Gris Nez in France, finishing the swim in less than 24 hours.
She has previously swum Channel twice as part of a relay team, but this was her first attempt at a solo crossing from England to France.
Sigrún has been sharing her adventure on Facebook and congratulatory messages rained in when she made it to France late last night—earning her a place in the nation’s annals as the first woman from Iceland to achieve the feat.
Sigrún had been granted permission from British and French authorities to attempt the swim between August 8 and 13 and she had decided to set off when the weather and sea conditions looked favorable. In the event, that turned out to be on the first day of her window of opportunity.
Sigrún expected her swim to last as little as 13 hours, and up to 19 hours if wind and/or currents proved stronger than desirable. It is therefore fair to say that a 23.5-hour crossing would have been a massive physical challenge.
Sigrún is an experienced sea swimmer, having started out in the sport in 2008. As well as having twice been on a team to swim the English Channel, she has also participated in a relay swim across Faxaflói; the bay that lies between Reykjavík and Akranes in Iceland.
Icelandic swimmer, Benedikt Hjartarson, 51, managed to swim across the English Channel in 2008 and became the first Icelander to do so. It was Benedikt's second attempt at crossing the channel.