Swimming is exploring for me. It's about the desire to see and really understand different parts of the world. By swimming in the water, I see a different side of the land. After I swam across the Bering Sea, during the Cold War, Gorbachev said it showed him how close the two countries really were and how our relationship was improving. Soon the borders were opened and families that hadn't seen each other for 48 years were able to reunite. It was enormously gratifying. Swimming is also about exploring yourself. There's something wonderfully creative in looking at a body of water and figuring out how to cross ithow to push yourself further. And there's always that question of "Can I do it?" The idea of swimming in Antarctic watersnobody had done that before. But it's just problem-solving: What is water below 32 degrees going to feel like? How is it going to affect the body? Do I have to worry about icebergs? Do I have to worry about getting attacked by seals? Is this possible? That's what really propels me: possibility.
Cox, 51, has swum across the Strait of Magellan, Lake Baikal, and the Gulf of Aqaba. In 2002 she swam for 20 minutes in the waters off Antarctica, covering 1.2 miles.