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Endurance athlete completes longest ocean swim

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VIEUXFORT, St Lucia (Reuters) – Endurance athlete Cameron Bellamy completed the longest recorded ocean channel swim on Sunday, covering the 151.7 km (94 miles) from Barbados to St Lucia in the Caribbean in 56 hours and 36 minutes, according to the official website tracking his progress.

The 37-year-old South African set out from St Peters Bay in Barbados at 8.20 on Saturday morning, swimming in flat seas with gentle swells but hot conditions, reaching St Lucia just before 5 p.m. local time on Sunday to be met by the country’s prime minister Allen Chastanet.

“He did it!” read a banner message on the tracker website.

Local media reported that paramedics took Bellamy to a medical facility for mandatory tests, but he appeared in good spirits when he exited the water after being swept a little further by the current than planned.

The swim is the latest in a list of endurance achievements by Bellamy, who previously rowed across the Indian Ocean and has swum the English channel, raising money for charity.

His swim beats a 124.4 km swim by Chloe McCardel from the south of Eleuthera Island to Nassau in the Bahamas five years ago, recognised by the Marathon Swimmers Federation as the longest ocean swim. The organisation is yet to formally verify Bellamy’s swim.

Bellamy drank every 30 minutes and ate every hour, according to updates on his Facebook page, following a strict feeding schedule to ensure his body stayed nourished and covered his body with a zinc-based lotion to protect it from the sun and salt water.

To combat “salt water mouth”, he applied petroleum jelly to his mouth, lips and tongue hourly and washed his mouth out with a dental solution.

Bellamy had originally sought to swim last month from Cuba to the Florida Keys, but said his plan had been scuppered by the refusal of American authorities to allow his support boat to make the journey.

(Reporting by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Jane Wardell)

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