The Bering Strait is the body of water separating the United States (Alaska) from Russia. It is only 53 miles wide at its narrowest section. There are multiple islands throughout the strait, the most well-known being the Little and Big Diomedes.
During the cold war, famous distance and cold-water swimmer Lynn Cox swam 2.7 miles between Little Diomede and Big Diomede islands. Normally, travel was prohibited between the islands due to the political conflict between the Soviet Union and the United States. An exception was made specially for her. She swam through the frigid 43 degree Fahrenheit water for an hour and thirty minutes before completing the swim at Big Diomede. Water this temperature would have caused hypothermia in the average human, but Cox, utilizing her unique body type, was able to complete this swim safely. She was welcomed by a combination of both Soviets and Americans. In the end, this swim helped to relax Cold War tensions as both Ronald Reagan and, then Soviet Statesman, Mikhail Gorbachev both praised her success.