Egyptian swimmer who lost his leg breaks two world records
A man from Egypt has set two Guinness World Records for swimming underwater with a single breath, after losing his leg in a motorcycle accident.
Omar Hegazy, 31, swam 185 feet and 4 inches underwater with a single breath, and then swam 251 feet and 7.6 inches in a single breath using a fin.
Hegazy earned the records for longest distance swam underwater with one breath and longest distance swam underwater with one breath with fins. Both records were in the LA1 category, which Guinness specifies as feat achieved by a person who has undergone a unilateral amputation above the knee.
Hegazy lost his left leg when he was 25 years old. He said he was riding his motorcycle when he hit a pot hole and was thrown underneath a moving truck.
“When the doctors made their final recommendation for amputation, I was very calm. I asked for an immediate operation and cosmetic amputation for the remaining limb,” Hegazy told Guinness World Records.
He said a period of depression followed the amputation, but in 2021 he started reading about others who had broken Guinness World Records after undergoing similar amputations.
“My source of motivation in the beginning was that I do not have much left to lose. I only got into swimming because I was a very angry. I found a way to I let out my anger and frustration, but it was also where I felt really free and capable,” Hegazy said.
He said he is hoping his own records will now inspire others to overcome obstacles.
“I hope these Guinness World Records titles inspire others and serve as a reminder that amazing is somewhere near you, you just have to open your eyes wide,” he said.