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GreekReporter.comGreek NewsSwimming Non-Stop the Entire 131 Kms of the Gulf of Corinth

Swimming Non-Stop the Entire 131 Kms of the Gulf of Corinth

Gulf of Corinth swim
Non-stop swimming at the Gulf of Corinth. Credit: Matthieu Bonne/Instagram

A Belgian athlete and adventurer swam the Gulf of Corinth non-stop, breaking the open sea swimming world record by covering 131 kilometers (81 miles).

Matthieu Bonne covered the entire distance in 60 hours and 55 minutes, stopping only for food and water.

After 131 kilometers, he crawled out of the Greek sea onto dry land. “I can’t believe I did [this],” Bonne said. “The last three days have been crazy, and now I have a new world record. I’m super happy.”

The swimmer faced several setbacks. “Due to the waves, the water was much cooler than predicted: 22 degrees instead of 27 degrees. I was cold for a long time,” Bonne the 29-year-old said.

“My mouth gave me big problems,” says Bonne. “The salt in the seawater made my lips and tongue completely swollen. At one point I wanted to stop because the pain was so unbearable. And then I had to go on for another twenty hours. No idea how, but I kept going.”

Bonne started the marathon swim on Thursday, a day later than planned, due to strong winds and very high waves in the Gulf of Corinth.

“His whole body, but especially his lips, were very sore because of the salty seawater. In addition, there was a strong wind at the end,” his team reported.

“It was a tough finish, but, despite his battered body, Mathieu kept smiling and moving on,” they noted.

Bonne and his team chose the Gulf of Corinth because he could swim more than 100 kilometers in a straight line, making it an ideal location for the challenge.

The previous open sea swimming world record was held by Neil Agius, from Malta, who had covered 125.7 kilometers.

Earlier this year, Bonne had set a world record by cycling 3,619 kilometers in seven days.

Gulf of Corinth separates the Peloponnese from Western Greece

The Gulf of Corinth is a deep inlet of the Ionian Sea, separating the Peloponnese from western mainland Greece.

The Isthmus of Corinth which includes the shipping-designed Corinth Canal is to the east, and, in the west, the Strait of Rion widens into the shorter Gulf of Patras. This gulf is part of the Ionian Sea. Since 2004, its narrowest point is crossed by the Rio–Antirrio bridge.

The gulf was created by the expansion of a tectonic rift due to the westward movement of the Anatolian Plate and expands by 10 mm (0.39 in) per year. The surrounding faults can produce earthquakes up to magnitude around 6.5, though they are relatively uncommon.

Related: The Magic of Sailing Through the Corinth Canal

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