MIAMI, Florida (CW44 News At 10 | CNN) – The Little Mermaid sang “Flipping your fins, you don’t get too far.” Apparently, she never saw Merle Liivand swim.
Liivand, also known as the “Eco Mermaid,” broke a Guinness World Record in May by completing a 26.22-mile swim using a silicone monofin.
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The ice swimming champion and marine conservationist accomplished the feat off the coast of Miami, Florida, in just 11 hours and 54 seconds, according to Guinness. She broke her previous record of 18.6 miles for swimming the furthest with a monofin.
To beat the record, Liivand could not use his arms. Instead, she only used her legs and feet, which were attached to the mermaid’s tail fin.
“Swimming with the monofin without using my arms is similar to how dolphins and marine animals swim,” she told Guinness. “They have a fin and cannot use weapons.”
Along the way, she encountered a lot of marine life and was stung by a jellyfish.
“I was stung by a jellyfish and I kept telling myself this was not the time to cry,” she said.
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The record was not only an athletic achievement, but also an environmental one.
Liivand uses her long-distance dives to raise awareness of environmental pollution, especially microplastics in the oceans.
“It’s unfair that we’ve gotten to the point where fish, dolphins and turtles are surrounded by plastic that ends up in their stomachs, and I feel like we humans are next,” she said.
During the swim, Liivand picked up any trash she saw and placed it in the kayak paddling beside her for proper disposal later.
“When I see garbage, I get angry,” she said. “At the end of the day, it’s not just about a record, it’s about helping the community and the world.”
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