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A teenage girl who was savaged by a huge shark that almost tore off her hand and left its teeth permanently in her leg has conquered her fears and won a swimming competition just 20 months after her attack.
Lucy Art had been playing in the Florida sea with her cousins in early 2021 when she was suddenly ripped open from below.
Initially, Lucy says, she had no idea what had hit her, but pretty soon, the pain started.
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She explained: "I was swimming with my cousins. I was just playing in the waves.
"I felt something hit my legs and I thought it was my cousin."
Unbeknownst to Lucy, it was actually a large black tip shark, a species that are not known to be particularly aggressive to humans.
She continued: "Then it jumped out of the water. And I realized it was a shark, and it liked grabbed my hand. So my right hand was in its mouth."
After freeing herself from the beast, a bloodied Lucy was pulled to shore, however her struggles were not over yet due to the severity of her injures.
She explained: "Because I could have bled out. I thought I was going to pass out going to the ambulance. I could not walk.
"In the ambulance, I just remember I was so scared that I lost my hand or that I would lose my hand."
It was only after Lucy arrived at the hospital that the true extent of her injuries were revealed.
She continued: "So like the shark actually took a bite, like took a piece of my tendon.
"There's such a high rate of infection in shark bites and I actually have some shark teeth in my legs."
After being discharged, Lucy began the arduous rehabilitation process in order that her hand would eventually work again.
It was the support of the shark attack community, she says, that inspired her to start her journey into competitive swimming, culminating in her winning her first event last month.
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She said: "I really just didn't think that my hand was ever going to work the same again.
"And like during rehab, that's when I was like contemplating my swim career and if I would ever swim again. I just didn't see myself getting better.
"I didn't really think of swimming in college. I think the whole shark attack actually gave me motivation to want to swim in college.
"Motivation really to do better and that I can be better.
"I've only been in the ocean once since then and I actually went to the same beach. That was hard."
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