At the age of 55, Amy Appelhans Gubser accomplished an extraordinary feat.

On May 11, she embarked on a 17-hour swim through shark-infested waters off the Northern California coast, starting from San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge and ending at the Farallon Islands, all without a wetsuit.

Grandmother makes history as first person to complete 17-hour swim through  shark-infested waters | The Independent

This remarkable journey solidifies her as the first swimmer to conquer this specific route without the aid of a wetsuit, as recognized by the Marathon Swimmers Foundation.

Amy’s experience was not only physically grueling but also mentally taxing. Navigating through dense fog in the Pacific Ocean, she described feeling like she was in a “sensory deprivation bubble.”

With visibility limited to just 100 meters in any direction and the water’s red tide further obscuring her view, Amy faced significant challenges throughout her swim. Despite the adversity, she remained steadfast, slipping into a meditative state to endure the hours-long journey.

Grandmother becomes first person to complete 17 hour swim through great  white shark infested waters

Throughout her swim, Amy was forbidden from touching the support boat, though her team provided her with hot beverages and sustenance to maintain her energy levels.

Despite encountering sharks and enduring jellyfish stings, Amy remained composed and focused, approaching the swim with meticulous caution due to the presence of sharks.

The timing was crucial for Amy’s endeavor, as she strategically planned her swim during a period when great white sharks typically migrate away from the Farallon Islands, which occurs between April and June.

A fetal cardiology nurse at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, Amy’s return to swimming came five years ago after a 24-year hiatus. A friend’s challenge to swim in frigid 52-degree waters without a wetsuit reignited her passion for the sport.

A perilous shark-infested marathon swim anyone?

Opting to forgo a wetsuit meant sacrificing warmth and buoyancy, as water temperatures plummeted to as low as 46 degrees Fahrenheit. However, Amy adhered to the strict rules of the Marathon Swim Federation, which have remained unchanged for over a century.

Amy’s family rejoiced when she completed the swim, as she had been preparing and discussing it for five years. Though her newfound fame came unexpectedly, she is grateful for the positive reception and hopes her story inspires others.

Reflecting on her achievement, Amy encourages individuals to not let age or other limitations hinder their pursuits. She believes that with determination and faith, anyone can overcome challenges and achieve remarkable feats.

As Amy’s story illustrates, trusting in God and pushing beyond perceived limits can lead to extraordinary accomplishments. Just as Amy’s body carried her through her swim, our faith and effort, combined with divine guidance, can help us triumph over our own challenges.