Now, some 24 years later, another Colombian -- Honorio Muñoz Burbano -- a teacher of physical education, has accomplished the same feat.
Profesor Muñoz started his swim in San Agustín, Huila, with a new Colombian flag tied to his back. Thirty three days later, he arrived in Barranquilla greeted by hoards of people clapping, the governor of the department of Atlántico, and the sounds of the Colombian national anthem playing in the background.
During the 33 days that he was swimming the river, he would following the same schedule -- entering the river at 7 am and swimming until 1 pm without stopping. Then, he would get out of the river, eat lunch and take a 30 minute nap. After his nap, he would resume swimming until 5 pm.
Muñoz was followed by a boat filled with helpers including 2 photographers and a cinematographer. Their hope is to make a documentary, a book, and a children's book about the experience and then draw attention to the problem of pollution and raise funds to help clean up the river.
At one point, in Calamar, Bolívar, Muñoz was forced to leave the river and spend the day in the hospital because he was suffering from hypothermia.
In all, he swam 1,620 kilometers of the river (approx. 1,007 miles). This broke Kapax's record of 1200 kilometers (approx. 746 miles).
Take a moment to visit his website and see pictures from his quest: