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South African woman completes 36km swim between Koh Tao and Koh Phangan

South African woman completes 36km swim between Koh Tao and Koh Phangan

PHUKET: South African woman Gene Giraudeau has successfully completed a 36km swim between Koh Tao and Koh Phangan, finishing in a time of 11 hours, 23 minutes, and is believed to be the first person to swim between the two islands.


By Claire Connell

Sunday 1 June 2014, 11:06AM


Gene completing her swim.

Gene completing her swim.

After finishing the swim, Gene was very emotional.

"It’s amazing that so many people have given up their time and offered their expertise to make my dream come true. The support and messages that I received on social media both in the run up to and during the swim were overwhelming and really helped."

Gene completed the swim as a personal challenge, and also to raise money and awareness of the issue of shark finning. She raised US$5,000.

"I’m happy that I am able to bring awareness to the plight that sharks are facing and have helped by raising money to aid their cause too," Gene said.

A former resident of Koh Tao and a keen swimmer, Gene swam the 23km around Koh Tao in 2012 – her first long distance swim.

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“I decided to try long distance swimming in Thailand because the water temperature is perfect. I don’t do very well in cold water, and swimming in Thailand lets me try swim these crazy distances with awesome warm water," Gene said before the swim.

“I have been living in South Korea for more than three years now. Shark fin soup is still served at important family functions and occasions. Through this swim I have managed to educate people about the cruelty of shark finning. Most Koreans are oblivious to the decreasing shark populations and the impact it can have on our ecosystems.

“Along with Master Divers Koh Tao and Project Aware and their finathon campaign I am swimming to stop finning.

“Shark finning is the act where people catch sharks, cut off their fins and throw their bodies back in the ocean where they are left to drown. As a result of shark finning all over the world, tens of millions of sharks die in this inhumane way," she told The Phuket News.

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