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Tuesday, June 2, 1998 Published at 11:17 GMT 12:17 UK

World: Americas

Dangerous swim for world record breaker

Susie Maroney swam from Mexico to Cuba. Last year, she swam from Cuba to Florida

An Australian marathon swimmer braved sharks, jellyfish and rough seas to claim a new world record by swimming from Mexico to Cuba.

BBC News' Heather Bryan on Susie's record-breaking swim
Susie Maroney struggled on to a beach in eastern Cuba to the applause of her family and support crew on Monday after swimming 123 miles (198 kms).

For most of her 38-hour journey, the long-distance swimmer swam inside a special shark-proof cage towed behind a boat.

Jellyfish danger

[ image: Susie completed the estimated 197km journey in less than 39 hours]
Susie completed the estimated 197km journey in less than 39 hours
The 23-year-old wore a special skinsuit to protect her from stinging jellyfish, but despite this was badly stung.

On the first night of her journey, rough waves caused damage to the cage, which had to be repaired with fishnet.

Susie also suffered from vomiting and said that was the worst part of her swim.

"I knew during the night that if I got through that, because it was really bad, that I had gone that far that I wouldn't quit," she said.

Shark danger

[ image: A special shark-proof cage was designed for Susie]
A special shark-proof cage was designed for Susie
On the final leg of her journey, Susie's two brothers joined her in the water for the last kilometre when she had to leave the safety of the shark cage to swim through shallow reefs.

Susie added: "Now I'm all sore but it's just the best feeling when you hit land and you know you see your family's face and they are just so proud of you. I love the challenge of it."

She says she now plans to rest in Cuba for a few days before deciding where the next swim will be.

Last year, Susie became the first known person to swim from Cuba to Florida, US. The organisers of her swim say she has set a new world record for open water swimming.

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The Oz Channel: Susie Maroney - Mexico to Cuba

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