THERE is a very good reason she is known in her country as ‘La Sirenita’ or the Little Mermaid.

Chilean teenager Milenka Rojas Rival has broken the women’s world record for swimming across the Strait of Gibraltar.

The 17-year-old swam the 18 kilometres from Tarifa to Punta Ahmia in Morocco in just 2 hours and 49 minutes.

The young swimmer had also hoped to make a return journey but was forced to abandon half way through the second leg due to an easterly wind and strong currents.

The previous record was held by Australian swimmer Penelope Palfrey, 47, who crossed the Strait in three hours and three minutes in 2010.

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