Oahu woman faces shark, jellyfish during challenging crossing - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Oahu woman faces shark, jellyfish during challenging crossing

Posted: Updated:

KAANAPALI, MAUI (HawaiiNewsNow) - An Oahu woman faced stinging jellyfish and a huge tiger shark, but still conquered a challenging crossing. She swam between Lanai and Maui twice on Sunday, and is now waiting for her new world record to become official.

Meredith Novack, 37, celebrated with steak and champagne after her grueling journey. She swam from Lanai to Maui and then back again, completing the nearly 20-mile journey through the Auau Channel in 11 hours and one minute. She started training for the goal more than 10 months ago.

"Because number 1, no woman had ever done it and number 2, because I just felt I could break the men's record," explained Novack.

Novack shattered the previous record of 11 hours and 45 minutes set by Peter Attia in 2008.

"I had a couple of tough moments. It hits you physically and it also hits you mentally. Plus, you're going through more jellyfish and it's just a really long day and you get slower and slower," said Novack.

The Moiliili resident suffered a Portuguese man-of-war sting, but she said an electronic device called a Shark Shield kept her safe from a tiger shark that her escort team told her about after she finished.

"They felt at the time that had I known there was a 15-foot shark circling us and charging at the kayak that I would have stopped and they're probably right," Novack said.

Novack said she made sure to follow strict rules for the world record attempt.

"You can't grab onto a kayak. You can't use anything for support and people can't touch you."

She hugged everyone on her team after her emotional finish.

"You're pushing so hard and you're so focused and then all of a sudden you're done, and I almost didn't know what to do or what to feel because it's over," said Novack.

Novack will send her paperwork to the Hawaii Channel Swim Association for official approval of the new record.

"Everybody has their own dreams and their own visions, and this one just spoke to my heart," said Novack.

She is already dreaming about her next big adventure which is to swim around Oahu in 2015.

Follow Lisa Kubota:    

Copyright 2013 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.