Taking a plunge in the Amazon – arguably the world’s most formidable river – is not for the faint-hearted. Piranhas, sharp-toothed sharks and deadly whirlpools are just a few of its perils. But they appear to have been no deterrent to Serbian Darko Novovic, who claims to have smashed the world record for swimming the South American river by 20 days.
The professional water polo player took only 46 days to swim 3,387 miles (5,450km) – breaking the record of the previous record holder, legendary Slovenian Martin Strel, according to Serbian news reports.
Novovic decided to take on the challenge after ribbing from fellow Serbs about Strel, who held successive world records for swimming the Danube, Mississippi, Yangtze, and Amazon and whose attempt to swim the latter was captured in the award-winning documentary Big Man River. “Our folks in the diaspora made bets that I would overtake Martin Strel and that’s how it started,” he told the Serbian News Agency SRNA. It took Novovic two and a half years to prepare for the challenge, which he finally began on the 29 September aiming to raise money for a church near Petrovac in Montenegro.