The whole world turned its gaze to Antarctica thanks to Bárbara Hernández, a Chilean swimmer who achieved a Guinness Record by immersing herself in the icy waters of the southernmost continent of planet earth.
Photo: THD Lateral
LatinAmerican Post | Paula Hernández
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Leer en español: El histórico récord de Bárbara Hernández y otros deportistas que han desafiado el hielo
A few days ago, Bárbara Hernández, a Chilean swimmer, made history by covering, in approximately 45 minutes, two and a half kilometers in the waters of Antarctica. Hernández, 37 years old, better known now as "The Ice Mermaid" became the first swimmer in the world to cover the longest stretch subjected to only two degrees of temperature.
An Extreme Swimmer
Bárbara has been practicing this discipline since 2014, when she was invited to Patagonia, Argentina to swim in the Perito Moreno glacier. Since then, her demanding sports life has always been highlighted. In 2021, she circled the island of Manhattan twice, in 20 hours and 30 minutes. Subsequently, her exploits led her to join the Ice Hall of Fame in 2022, thus becoming the first Latin American to be part of such a selection.
Low temperatures require an enormous effort from the body to maintain its internal temperature, which causes a constriction of the blood vessels so that the blood concentrates and heats the central area of the body where the vital organs are located. These are extreme conditions that only a true “Ice Mermaid” could face. That's a reason why she became world news for breaking a Guinness Record.
According to her statements, one of the reasons why Barbara decided to accept this difficult challenge was to "embrace life and give it a greater purpose". Also, to make the whole world turn its gaze to Antarctica to create awareness of the need to care its waters and the entire maritime ecosystem.
There were approximately three years of deep physical and mental preparation, and although that part of the challenge was met, Bárbara explained in El Mostrador how complicated this test was: “At the end of the distance I was almost faint, my arms and legs were very cold, I had a temperature drop to 27 degrees. It was a complex recovery, but in just two hours we were able to restore vital signs."
Added to the name of Bárbara Hernández are those of other people who have subjected their body and mind to low temperatures. For example, in the year 2020, an Austrian, then 42 years old, was submerged in ice for two hours, thirty minutes and fifty-seven seconds, thus breaking a world record.
Athletes Who Beat Ice
Another renowned athlete who can say that he swam in the waters of Antarctica is the Spanish Diego López, who after swimming in many parts of the world decided to do it by facing icy waters. He and thirteen other athletes set out to swim one kilometer and finally succeeded, they remained submerged for about 15 minutes.
Recently, the Frenchman Arthur Guerin-Boeri broke a free diving record by doing 100 meters in water at 0.7 degrees. Guerin-Boeri swam exactly 105 meters in Wakefield, Quebec. He was underwater for almost three minutes.
From Santiago de Chile to the icy waters of Antarctica, the southernmost continent on earth, Bárbara Hernández, a psychologist and swimmer, recorded her name in the history of world sports and in the personalities that now seek to protect and preserve the waters of this continent.