Incredible pensioner, 77, becomes oldest woman to swim the Strait of Gibraltar

A 77-year-old pensioner has become the oldest woman to swim the Strait of Gibraltar. 

Maria del Rosario Tomasena Alzuni, better known as Txaro, from Gipuzkoa, northern Spain, swam the 10-mile journey from Tarifa to the Moroccan coast on Tuesday afternoon (July 18). 

She completed the challenge in 6 hours and 23 minutes. The Strait of Gibraltar Swimming Association (ACNEG), which certified the attempt, said they had “total admiration and respect” for the woman. 

She broke a record previously set in 2017 by the Argentinian Angela Elda Marchetti, who achieved the same feat at the age of 69.

Incredibly, Txaro only learned to swim at the age of 50, according to Nius Diario, a Spanish publication, as part of her rehabilitation programme after a car accident.

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Speaking after her swim, the pensioner said: “When I was young, I didn’t do any physical activity, but when I met my husband, who was a keen mountaineer, we started hiking together. 

“We’ve seen the world on foot, we’ve been to the Himalayas twice, for example. 

“I needed rehabilitation and I started swimming to take care of my body.” 

The pensioner first got on a triathlon bike at the age of 69, 19 years after her crash, and has been a practising athlete since. 

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The ACNEG has expressed its “total admiration and respect” for the swimmer “who has shown that it is never too late to achieve a dream”.

Brit Katherine Susan Steels-Fryatt, 52, successfully swam the Strait of Gibraltar on June 23 this year. 

She swam the crossing alongside two Romanians, Paul Eugen Dorin Georgescu, 44, and Fratila Serban-Florin, 50, and Australian Fiona Erin Cullinane from Australia, 21.

The four swimmers completed the 10-mile crossing without wearing wetsuits in a time of three hours and 46 minutes. 

Additional reporting: Maria Ortega

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