Thursday, February 12, 2009

Remember That Woman Who Swam Across the Atlantic...?


A few days back I posted a story on Jennifer Figge, who reportedly swam across the Atlantic Ocean at the age of 56, an awe inspiring feat at any for sure. Shortly after I made that post I updated it with a link to this article, which was calling into question Figge's claims. Now, it seems that the reports of her record may have been a bit premature.

The Associated Press has issued a statement retracting elements of the story, which they reported on February 1st, 7th, and 8th. The statement, in its entirety, is as follows;

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – In stories on Feb. 1, 7 and 8, about Jennifer Figge's long-distance swim in the Atlantic, The Associated Press reported erroneously that she had swum across the ocean. Figge swam only a fraction of the 2,100-mile journey. The rest of the time, she rested on her crew's westward-sailing catamaran. Her spokesman, David Higdon, told The AP on Tuesday that her total swimming distance has not been calculated yet, but that due to ocean hazards including inclement weather, he estimates she swam about 250 miles.


So there you have it. She swam an estimated 250 miles of what was thought to have been a 2100 mile journey. The question here is were we purposefully duped or was there some mistake in the reporting process? Why would someone set out to complete, what was reportedly a life-long dream, only to sit in the boat for most of it. Perhaps what she really wanted to do was cross the ocean in a catamaran, but take a dip in the water here and there.

This is an odd story that doesn't make a whole lot of sense at this point, but as that article that I linked to above stated, she would have had to have swum more than 80 miles a day to have completed it in just 24 days. That doesn't seem likely, but until we here from Jennifer directly, we'll not know the motivations. She's reportedly sailing... *ahem*... I mean swimming the 900 miles from from Trinidad to the British Virgin Islands. I'm guessing that should take long enough for everyone to forget all about this.

3 comments:

Belgian Adventurer said...

When I saw the video on the net of her swimming into a net pulled by a sailing/motor boat, I kinda thought, mmm in such a short time, across the atlantic, must have been dragged allthe way by the boat. Now the news seems really worse. A pity.
I think journalist have there responsibilty for such things ! Most of them forgot that they have to look for info, research it, etc...
Instead we're in a world of copy-paste from blog or sites, having deadlines to find info in quantity and not quality. A pity !

One of the articles written about my desert trek in a local newspaper wrote i had been bitten by a wild camel, which never happened, which I never said. Some journalist have a lot of imagination (journalist=imagination??? WTF) or try find something spectacular to write. I just hope the public has still some common sense: being bitten by a wild camel, with nobody around, in the heat of the day, with limited supplies of water... I believe in that case you just don't play the hero and continue, you call for help!

Adventure Junkie said...

I think sometimes people really want to believe the stories of the incredible and don't always stop to think about the details. I just hope this was a miscommunication kind of thing and not a deliberate attempt to mislead.

As for your story, it's just another way to enhance your legend my friend! ;)

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