South African endurance swimmer, Sarah Ferguson started representing South Africa in the pool in the late 90s, but after enjoying a fifteen-year-long career, she changed lanes.
Already working as a physiotherapist, Ferguson didn’t abandon her love for sports. Ferguson felt certain her athletic adventures were not yet over. She was inspired to create something meaningful with her swimming talents when she found her passion for open water swimming in 2011 during her first open water swim in Hawaii.
Ferguson is also the founder of Breathe Conservation, an international nonprofit organization that believes in a plastic-free ocean and aims to eliminate disposable plastic.
Last year, Ferguson set a new world record for becoming the first person to swim around the entire perimeter of Easter Island in Polynesia. She completed 63.5km over 19 hours and eight minutes, finishing ahead of schedule in a swim expected to take about 24 hours.
“I hope that just as I swam around Easter Island one stroke at a time, people will choose to make one small decision at a time around single-use plastic to help preserve this beautiful blue ocean of ours,” said Fegurson.
One of her major accomplishments as an endurance swimmer include completing the trip from Robben Island to Big Bay, almost four times the distance of her recreational Hawaii swim. Then came the big one. In keeping with the trend of exponential growth, she returned to the place where it all started to become the first African to conquer the 42-kilometre Ka’iwi channel.
An avid conservationist, Ferguson harnessed the publicity she generated to create awareness about the need to protect our oceans from single-use plastic. From here, she aims to keep swimming with the goal of spreading knowledge about protecting the planet and inspiring young women to chase their dreams.