Merle Liivand Completes 26.22 Mile World Record Mermaid Swim With Monofin

Estonian swimmer Merle Liivand has set a new world record for the furthest swim using a monofin after completing a 42.2 km (26.22 mile) swim in Miami Beach, Florida. The distance is equivalent to the classic length of a running marathon.

The swim took Liivand about 11 hours and 54 minutes using a “mermaid swimming” technique, where she could not use her arms and relied only on dolphin kicking with the monofin to move herself through the ocean water. 

Merle Liivand Completes 26.22 Mile Mermaid Swim (via Merle Liivand)

During her swim, Liivand was accompanied by a team of kayakers, who fed her small meals throughout the day. She swam alongside many ocean creatures during her journey, including manatees and dolphins, as noted on her Instagram account. However, she was stung by a jellyfish in the leg, causing severe pain and swelling in the area.  

In addition to setting a world record, Lliivand used her swim as a chance to promote awareness of marine pollution, a situation that she refers to as the “plastic pandemic.” Throughout the swim, Liivand picked up garbage from the ocean, handing it to her kayakers to dispose of. According to Liivand, her team collected three large bags of garbage by the end of the swim. 

“I was one of the chosen ones who was addressing the World leaders about the Ocean pollution issues,” Liivand said in a written statement about her swim. 

“I had a good swim and truly enjoyed all of Miami because in every community where I swam people were out and cheering for me! I truly wanna thank all my supporters, Miami Beach police and safety crew who closed all Miami Boar traffic bridges when I swam by, and Miami Beach Mayor who already named April 17, 2021 (when I swam my record on my birthday) Merle Liivand Day!!!”

“I am extremely proud of everyone who came out and was part of Clean Up and pulled out 400 pounds with Miami Beach cleanup and the city!”

This is Liivand’s fourth time resetting this world record as she first set it back in 2019 by completing a 10 km (6.2 miles) monofin swim off Redondo Beach, California, which took her 2 hours and 54 minutes. She later completed a 20.6 km (12.8 mile) swim in 2020 and a 30 km (18.6 mile) swim in 2021, both of which were records at the time. After her 30 km swim last year, Liivand noted that the conditions were not ideal for her and that she could’ve gone further with better conditions, motivating her to break that record with her most recent swim.


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Stephen "Sid" Cassidy
1 year ago

You are amazing Merle!💪🏽👊🏽😎

About Nicole Miller

Nicole Miller

Nicole has been with SwimSwam since April 2020, as both a reporter and social media contributor. Prior to joining the SwimSwam platform, Nicole also managed a successful Instagram platform, amassing over 20,000 followers. Currently, Nicole is pursuing her B.S. in Biomedical Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. After competing for the swim …

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