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Woman breaks record in grueling, shark-infested swim

Kim Chambers beat tough odds before she even got in the water
Woman's dangerous swim to Golden Gate Bridge makes history 02:14

For the first time, a woman completed the grueling swim from the Farallon Islands to San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge. It was a momentous feat, but the 38-year-old beat tough odds before she even got in the water, reports CBS News correspondent Ben Tracy.

When Kim Chambers stepped off a boat in San Francisco Saturday, she was exhausted and emotional.

92-year-old woman breaks marathon record 03:19

"I'm completely overwhelmed. This is something I've wanted for so long and I can't believe I did it," Chambers said.

She completed one of the most dangerous swims in the world -- 30 miles in shark-infested waters. It is the same swim a man attempted one week prior, but had to stop because of a great white shark nearby.

Chambers started her swim at 11:15 p.m. Friday off of the Farallon Islands due west of San Francisco and headed straight toward the Golden Gate Bridge.

The swim took 17 hours, 12 minutes -- and Chambers wasn't even wearing a wet suit in the 60-degree water.

"It was a really tough swim. I was pretty ill in the middle of the night and I couldn't keep any food down and so I actually felt my swim was over."

But support from her crew and her mom, Jocelyn, who flew in from New Zealand, kept her going.

"I was amazed that she had such mental fortitude and physical determination to finish," her mom said. "I mean, she's freezing cold -- you can tell that -- she's exhausted, she's got aches and pains, but she wasn't giving up."

Kim Chambers' final stroke under the Golden Gate Bridge

In 2007, Chambers nearly had her leg amputated after a fall. Doctors said she might never walk again without assistance. But the former ballerina started swimming as part of her rehab, and soon became one of the few to complete the Ocean's Seven, a collection of some of the toughest swims on the planet. She's now the first and only woman to conquer the Farallon-to-Golden Gate swim.

"This is what happens when you're scared of big dreams. You just do them. And then this happens," Chambers said.

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