Israeli relay sextet set world record open-water mark

Six Israeli swimmers emerge from the water during a media presentation, a day after their attempt to claim the Guinness world record for open-water relay distance swimming, in the Herzliya Marina, near Tel Aviv October 11, 2014. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

HERZLIYA Israel (Reuters) - A group of six swimmers have claimed a world record of 380 kilometers (236 miles) for open-water relay distance swimming after crossing the eastern Mediterranean from Cyprus to Israel.

The Israeli team left Paphos at the western end of Cyprus on Oct. 5 and set the new mark on Friday when they reached the coast south of Tel Aviv but they remained on their support yacht and came ashore together on Saturday.

The six men achieved their goal at the second time of asking after aborting an attempt last year due to rough seas.

The swim was completed in 123 hours 10 minutes, the World Open Water Swimming Association said on their website.

The previous record of 367 kilometers was set by a U.S. sextet off the coast of California last year.

The six, ranging between 66 and 44, each spent an hour in the water and had to maintain the same rotation for the record to be recognized, said Udi Erell, 66, one of the swimmers.

“It wasn’t easy but (the other five) made it easy, they were all amazing ... and not to forget that the goal was to bring to the attention of everybody that we need clean seas.”

Reporting by Rami Amichai, writing by Ori Lewis, editing by Tony Jimenez