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Unferth is the son of Ecglaf and is one of Hrothgar's men. He was jealous of Beowulf and he accused Beowulf of being reckless almost to the point of death. Unferth recalled that he had heard about a contest between Beowulf and Brecca. The two men each boasted of his superiority and a swimming match ensued. Brecca won the match. Beowulf said that he, Beowulf, was still the better swimmer and that he had stuck by Brecca's side, stroke for stroke, for five nights, until a flood separated them. Then Beowulf encountered sea monsters and he had to battle them, which delayed him in the contest and allowed Brecca to win. Unferth's point was that the swimming match was pointless and that either one or both men could have been killed just to settle a boast. Beowulf's explanation of the events emphasizes his ability to fight sea monsters and win, even after swimming for five days.
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