Quadriplegic French swimmer traverses Bering Strait

Craig MedredAlaska Dispatch
Philippe Croizon, a French swimmer who has no arms and legs, in Alaska with members of his team.
b.blanzat/Radio France photo
Philippe Croizon prepares for a cold-water swim in Alaska with his custom-designed flippers, wetsuit and snorkel.
b.blanzat/Radio France photo
Philippe Croizon celebrates after crossing the Red Sea connecting Egypt and Turkey.
Cath Productions photo
Philippe Croizon swims with the help of custom designed flippers and a snorkel. His swimming partner, Arnaud Chassery, accompanies him.
Cath Productions photo
Philippe Croizon celebrates his crossing of the Straits of Gibraltar separating Morocco and Spain.
NADF Photo
Philippe Croizon in Papua New Guinea before swimming to Indonesia.
v.hulin/Radio France photo
The village of Diomede, on Little Diomede island.
Courtesy George Kalli
Little Diomede island, foreground, and its Russian counterpart, Big Diomede, are separated by only 2.4 miles. Wednesday, March 14, 2012.
Loren Holmes photo
The village of Little Diomede, looking towards Big Diomede Island.
Stephen Nowers photo

Frenchman Philippe Croizon has completed his swim in the Bering Strait to become the first man without limbs to swim across the U.S.-Russian border. His achievement follows Friday's announcement that Croizon and his team may be unable to secure the final border permits to pass the U.S. maritime boarder and enter Russian waters.

ABC News reported Saturday that Croizon had completed his paddle of the Bering Strait, beginning at Little Diomede Island, Alaska, U.S.A. and finishing at Big Diomede, Russia. The two-and-a-half-mile swim took Croizon about an hour and 20 minutes to complete.

Croizon's completion of the Bering Strait crossing was the final leg in his tour of transcontinental channels linking Asia and North America.  Within the last three months Croizon has traversed from Papua New Guinea to Indonesia, Africa to Asia across the Red Sea and Europe and Africa across the Strait of Gibraltar.

Expedition leader Marc Gaviard told the Dispatch Friday that although the team had previously received clearance from Moscow to make the swim, border guards in Chukotka-- an autonomous Russian district responsible for issuing passage into country-- were balking. Gaviard said, Croizon "is willing to break all barriers, but some still exist. Not in the Middle East, but between America and Russia.”

In the end, Croizon and his team were able to secure passage. Upon reaching Big Diomede, Russia, 44-year-old Croizon said, "This was the hardest swim of my life, with a water temperature of four degrees Celsius and strong currents!"

For more on Croizon and his expeditions click here.