Man Swims across Lake Malawi, Gets Two World Records

Category: Human Interest


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. break the record / breɪk ðə ˈrɛk ərd / (idiom) – to do or perform better than another person or group who previously achieved something

    One thousand band members performed together to break the record that was previously achieved by five hundred people.

  2. terrified / ˈterəˌfaɪd / (adj) – extremely nervous about or afraid of something

    The man was so terrified of insects that he screamed when he saw a cockroach.

  3. endure / ɛnˈdʊər / (v) – to deal with something difficult or unpleasant for a long time

    The swimmer had to endure his back pain to finish first on the race.

  4. inclement / ɪnˈklɛm ənt / (adj) – rainy or stormy

    The inclement weather did not stop the swimmer from swimming across the lake.

  5. pledge / plɛdʒ / (v) – to make a promise to give or do something

    Our company pledged to donate a huge amount of money to the victims of the fire.


Read the text below.

A South African man has set two world records after completing a 54-day swim across Lake Malawi, the third largest lake in Africa.

Forty-five-year-old swimmer Martin Hobbs now holds the Guinness / ˈgɪn ɪs / World Record for the longest solo swim in a lake after swimming 580 kilometers in 54 days. He was able to break the previous record, which was 480 kilometers in 45 days. Apart from this, Hobbs also got the world record for becoming the first individual to swim the entire length of the lake.

Following these achievements, Hobbs was able to raise $10,000. He plans to further raise money by giving speeches and writing books about his experiences until he reaches about $35,000. The Solo Swimmer, as people now call Hobbs, intends to donate the money to the Smile Foundation, a charitable organization that helps children with facial deformities.

Hobbs’s journey was not an easy one. Lake Malawi is known to be home to wild animals and harmful insects, such as crocodiles and mosquitoes. The swimmer admitted that he was terrified of the crocodiles in the lake. In addition to this, Hobbs also had to endure inclement weather. At one point, he and his team even experienced a tornado.

The efforts of the swimmer have greatly helped the Smile Foundation. Even before Hobbs finished his course, an organization has already pledged a donation amounting to about $6,900. The Smile Foundation is very grateful to Hobbs for his help. Hedley Lewis, the Smile Foundation CEO, congratulated and thanked the swimmer for raising awareness and funds for the children under the organization’s care.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you think that the difficulties Hobbs experienced during the course of his journey was all worth it? Discuss.
• Would you also be willing to do something similar to set a world record like Hobbs? Why or why not?

Discussion B

• Why do you think some people choose to do dangerous acts to raise money for charity? Discuss.
• Why do you think some people work very hard to set world records? Discuss.