Competitive swimmer and Ocean Ambassador, “The Mermaid,” Merle Liivand was honored as a Wonder Woman by the Wonder Woman Initiative during the Miami Swim Week on July 8 weekend.
The Wonder Woman Initiative launched during Miami Swim Week in 2018, opening with an inaugural award show in honor of 4 female survivors. Since then, the initiative has curated over 30 events and fashion week shows including a groundbreaking event at New York Fashion Week in 2019.
The Wonder Woman Initiative has also awarded over 50 women and raised funds to help the underprivileged in the City of Miami, in Haiti, and in Nigeria.
In addition to Liivand, this year’s honorees were fashion designer Layana Aguilar, Sophie Ringel – the founder of Clean Miami Beach, and Dotie Joseph, a Member of the Florida House of Representatives.
Merle Liivand was recently officially recognized by Guinness World Records with her 5th World Record.
On April 15th, 2023, she swam 50 km (31.13 miles) with a Mermaid monofin without using her arms for a full stroke.
It took her 14 hours and 15 minutes to complete the challenge, and while doing it, she personally collected 20 pounds of waste from the water, and her accompanying team collected another 15 pounds – total 35 pounds (15 kg) trash from the ocean.
Merle Liivand says: “I do swim crazy distances to bring attention to our oceans and climate but especially microplastic problems in our environment and in human blood.”
After receiving the honorable nomination of Wonder Woman, Merle Liivand acknowledged both her grandmothers, Maret Konstantinova and Helve Liivand, on social media, saying that their strength, willpower, and enormous vitality are the reasons for her achieving great goals.
Photo from Merle Liivand’s Facebook page