Six Israelis break world record by swimming home from Cyprus
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Six Israelis break world record by swimming home from Cyprus

Overcoming a plague of plastic bags, men aged 42-66 claim open water relay record with 236 mile feat aimed at highlighting ocean pollution

Israeli swimmers (from left to right) Ben Enosh, Luc Chetboun, 46, Ud Erel, 66, Ori Sela, 41, Doron Amosi, 45, Oded Rahav, 43, celebrate after swimming in turns 248 miles from the Mediterranean island of Cyprus to Israel in an attempt to break the World record and the Guinness world record for longest swim in open sea and to raise awareness on sea protection, on October 11, 2014 in the Israeli coastal city of Herzliya. (photo credit: AFP/ JACK GUEZ)
Israeli swimmers (from left to right) Ben Enosh, Luc Chetboun, 46, Ud Erel, 66, Ori Sela, 41, Doron Amosi, 45, Oded Rahav, 43, celebrate after swimming in turns 248 miles from the Mediterranean island of Cyprus to Israel in an attempt to break the World record and the Guinness world record for longest swim in open sea and to raise awareness on sea protection, on October 11, 2014 in the Israeli coastal city of Herzliya. (photo credit: AFP/ JACK GUEZ)

Six Israelis on Saturday claimed the world open water relay record after swimming 380 kilometers (236 miles) home from Cyprus in a challenge also meant to highlight ocean pollution.

One of the obstacles they faced while swimming from the Mediterranean island to the Israeli coast was the proliferation of floating plastic bags.

The men, aged 42 to 66, had left at noon Sunday from the Cypriot resort town of Paphos, accompanied by a support vessel also equipped to document their feat for a crack at the Guinness Book of World Records.

Their eyes were set on a 366-kilometer record held by Americans, swimmer Oded Rahav told journalists in Herzliya.

Israeli swimmers (from left to right) Ben Enosh, Luc Chetboun, 46, Ud Erel, 66, Ori Sela, 41, Doron Amosi, 45, Oded Rahav, 43, arrive in Israel after attempting to break the World record and the Guinness world record for longest swim in open sea and to raise awareness on sea protection, on October 11, 2014 in the Israeli coastal city of Herzliya. (photo credit: AFP/ JACK GUEZ)
Israeli swimmers (from left to right) Ben Enosh, Luc Chetboun, 46, Ud Erel, 66, Ori Sela, 41, Doron Amosi, 45, Oded Rahav, 43, arrive in Israel after attempting to break the World record and the Guinness world record for longest swim in open sea and to raise awareness on sea protection, on October 11, 2014 in the Israeli coastal city of Herzliya. (photo credit: AFP/ JACK GUEZ)

Swimming day and night in one-hour relays, with one team-mate watching at any given time and the others resting, they arrived in Rishon Lezion late Friday.

The men had made a previous attempt on the record last year, but a storm forced them to abandon it midway.

This time, aside from jellyfish, curious dolphins and water temperatures a bit chilly for only swimming trunks, the main obstacle was a plague of plastic bags.

“To swim through plastic bags is humiliating and intolerable,” one of them said. “The sea should be a sanctuary for all and conserved for all.”

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