"Time and again, foul things attacked me,
lurking and stalking, but I lashed out,
gave as good as I got with my sword.
My flesh was not for feasting on,
there would be no monsters gnawing and gloating
over their banquet at the bottom of the sea.
Instead, in the morning, mangled and sleeping
the sleep of the sword, they slopped and floated
like the ocean's leavings." (559-567)
Beowulf's swimming contest with Breca is made more impressive by the addition of dozens of writhing sea-monsters, turning this straightforward athletic contest into an adventure worthy of being included in an epic.