The City of Miami Beach declared April 17 Merle Liivand Day, celebrating the renowned open-water swimmer’s world record swim there.
Liivand broke her world record that day by swimming 30 kilometers in a monofin off Miami Beach. The feat took nine hours and 19 minutes.
Liivand had previously set Guinness World Records for the 10-kilometer mermaid monofin swim (two hours, 54 minutes off Redondo Beach, Calif., in 2019) and 20-kilometer swim (six hours, eight minutes off South Point Park Pier in 2020). The latest swim marked the Estonia “aquapreneur” and athlete’s 30th birthday.
“[Marine pollution] affects me that I cry and I am angry,” Liivand said in a company release. “I go outside and clean it…it is hurtful. We rely on clean water. I have seen more masks and gloves in the ocean now. When we had the lockdown in April, I started seeing more masks and things and it was a wake-up call for me. We are already fighting with microplastic and we were already fighting with pollution in the ocean. It frustrated me.
“Our oceans suffer from the fast-paced warming and as an open water swimmer, I can tell you that the effects are here. More and more sharks are moving closer to shore and more plastic ends up in sea animal’s stomachs. I am working on something to bring more attention to this issue.”
Merle Liivand has won national championships in the pool and open water. She has competed internationally in ice swimming and triathlon. Liivand, who is also a model, is the CEO of swimming apparel company Swimeraand an international ambassador and advocate for ocean cleanup.
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