Bárbara Hernández

Bárbara Hernández completes longest ever swim in Antarctic waters

Known as ‘The Ice Mermaid’, Chilean open water swimmer Bárbara Hernández has become the first person to swim 2.5km in the icy waters of Antarctica

On February 9 2023, Chilean open water swimmer Bárbara Hernández achieved the world’s longest ever swim in Antarctic waters.

Known as ‘The Ice Mermaid’ for her astounding swimming challenges in the coldest parts of the world, Bárbara has become the first person to swim 2.5km in the icy waters of Antarctica. The temperature was 2°C, and she wore only a swimsuit with no protective clothing or grease. The swim lasted 45m and took place in Chile Bay, Greenwich Island.

The 37-year-old psychologist did the swim to raise awareness about climate change and protecting Antarctica and the southern oceans.

On her Instagram after her swim, Bárbara wrote, “It’s the longest distance I’ve ever swam in these freezing waters and you can’t imagine what that final jump means. The nervousness of the hours beforehand; the doubt. […] I swear that the 2.5km were calling me, and I knew they would take care of me.”

Meanwhile Bárbara also aims to complete the Oceans Seven, a marathon swimming challenge that consists of seven open water channel swims. So far she has swum five of the Oceans Seven swims, as she bids to become only the seventh person to compete the challenge. She has the Cook Strait and the Tsugaru Strait still to attempt.

Bárbara Hernández Huerta is an ambassador for dryrobe®, the world’s most advanced change robe. Read about a typical training day for Bárbara as she prepares for the next leg of her Oceans Seven challenge.

Stay up to date with The Dip, our free weekly outdoor swimming newsletter.

Abi writes swimming news stories and features for the Outdoor Swimmer website and manages the social media channels. She loves to swim, run, hike and SUP close to her home in Herefordshire. While she’s a keen wild swimmer, Abi is new to the world of open water events and recently completed her first open water mile. She has previously written for The Guardian, BBC Countryfile Magazine, BBC History Magazine and Ernest Journal.