Philippe Croizon disabled swimmer“A French swimmer who lacks legs and arms has successfully swum the frigid waters separating Alaska and Russia with the aid of paddle-like prosthetics,” reports Reuters.

Seeking to raise awareness of the abilities of handicapped people, Philippe Croizon, whose limbs were amputated after an accident at age 26, completed his dream of swimming between five continents.

His amputations were required due to a severe electric shock accident which occurred in March 1994. At the time, Croizon was employed as a steelworker at Fonderie du Poitou, 26 years old and married, with one son, and another baby on the way.

During his recuperation in the hospital, he saw a television programme about a female channel-swimmer, who Croizon said inspired him. He began a regimen of swimming, training for over five hours per day with the Maritime Gendarmerie, the French marine police, in the sea near La Rochelle. He experimented with different prosthetic limbs designed for swimming, with fins attached to the stumps of his legs.

He wrote a book entitled J’ai décidé de vivre (I Decided to Live), using a speech-to-text computer system. He also made a parachute jump.

On September 18, 2010, at the age of 42, he swam across the English Channel in less than 14 hours.

This year in April, Croizon announced a new project, to swim four straits separating five continents. The planned trips included Australia to Asia, across the Red Sea (linking Asia and Africa), the Straits of Gibraltar (linking Africa and Europe), and the Bering Strait (linking Asia and America)

(READ the current story w/ photos in the NY Daily News)

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