Egyptian swimmer Shehab Allam admits he feels like a "superhero" after an impressive 7 mile (11 km) swim in handcuffs earned him a world record.
Despite the strange looks he'd often get for snapping handcuffs around his wrists before going for a swim, the 31-year-old practised long and hard to achieve his goal - beating a record set by American Benjamin Katzman in 2021 with a 5.35 mi (8.6 km) swim in handcuffs.
Through sheer determination, Shehab claimed the title for farthest distance swimming wearing handcuffs with a remarkable 7.238 mi (11.649 km). It took him six hours and was a double victory as it also marked his own personal best.
The keen athlete's incredible achievement took place in the open waters of the Arabian Gulf, where he wore handcuffs for the entire duration of his swim and was not permitted to touch the support boat.
أبعد مسافة يتم قطعها بالسباحة أثناء ارتداء الأصفاد 🏊 11.649 كم من قبل شهاب علام (مصر)♬ original sound - Guinness World Records Arabic
Undaunted, he began his gruelling swim, back and forth along a marked 164 metre (538 ft) route. Completing the lap around 70 times, he battled against fatigue, pain, and exhaustion to reach the 11 km mark. To put it into perspective, it is equivalent to completing around 460 laps in a standard Olympic-size swimming pool.
"During the training, I used to attract curious glances when I have the handcuffs on. To avoid drawing too much attention, I prefer to swim in quieter areas, typically near the limit line of the beaches, although I still receive some stares," said Shehab.
When Shehab first started practising swimming in handcuffs, they'd chafe his wrists and leave them red and irritated. Despite that, he exhibited unwavering dedication in perfecting his own exclusive swimming technique that he christened the "double-arm pull and modified sidestroke", which he is still refining to this day.
"The feeling of being among the record-breaking elite gives me a sense of being a superhero, and it drives me to maintain my position in the records for as long as possible."
"I couldn't feel that my mission was complete until I held the certificate in my hand," he said. "Being a Guinness World Records record holder has given me much more happiness and pleasure than any other achievements I have done before."
Through this six-hour swim, Shehab hoped to inspire countless others to strive for greatness. He believes his accomplishment will be remembered for years to come as a shining example of human potential and the power of the human spirit.
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