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Bengisu Avcı becomes 1st Turkish swimmer to cross New Zealand's Cook Strait

Anadolu Agency SPORTS
Published February 13,2024

Bengisu Avcı, 27, on Tuesday became the very first Turkish swimmer to cross New Zealand's Cook Strait.

"A big applause to Bengisu! We congratulate Ms. Bengisu Avcı, the first ever Turkish swimmer to pass the Cook Strait!" said the Turkish Embassy in Wellington on X.

The Turkish ultramarathon swimmer, renowned for her record-breaking English Channel crossing, reached yet another milestone in her career.

Despite facing the challenges of 13C (55.4F) water and the looming risk of hypothermia, Avcı embarked on a formidable 26-kilometer (16-mile) swim across the Cook Strait, commencing her journey at 1600GMT the previous day.

Undeterred by the harsh conditions, she completed the crossing, becoming the first Turk to accomplish this remarkable feat.

Avcı, having conquered the fourth leg of the 7 Oceans Seven challenge, achieved a monumental feat by swimming the 36-km (22.4-mi) English Channel on Aug. 3, 2018.

Following this remarkable accomplishment, she ventured across the 34-km (21.1-mi) Catalina Channel, linking California's Santa Catalina Island and the city of Los Angeles on Sept. 5-6, 2022.

Notably, she also crossed the daunting Strait of Gibraltar, spanning Spain and the North African nation of Morocco, in August 2023, further solidifying her status as a formidable ultramarathon swimmer.

To fulfill her ambitious goal, Avcı must navigate through additional challenging channels, including the Molokai Channel in Hawaii, the Northern Channel connecting Ireland and Scotland, and the Tsugaru Channel in Japan.