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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Tom Hetzel Testing Himself Through The Years

Tom Hetzel Ph.D. of Texas had an incredible streak from 1967-1977 when he successfully completed 8 crossing of the English Channel in 10 years.

Tom, a 1980 inductee in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame wrote a book called Conquest in the English Channel. One of Tom's many memorable lines was, "Throw away the stop watch and use the calendar," which he used to coach the world's most famous pool swimming coach, Doc Counsilman, across the English Channel.

Tom estimated that he trained enough miles in the open water to circle the earth besides setting records in 18 different bodies of water. He had another prolific period between 1980-1984 when he completed eight swims around Manhattan Island.

Tom took to marathon swimming "to test myself", believing and proving that there is value in resisting quitting. Among his other personal beliefs and coaching gems were, "One more chance, can lead to success" and "Never allow negative words to creep into your vocabulary. Maintain a positive attitude and a positive vocabulary."

Copyright © 2010 by Steven Munatones


  1. His book was a great inspiration and invaluable help in making my first Channel swim back in 1985 such an amazingly beautiful experience. Thanks for writing about him!

  2. Hetzel; an astonishlingly humble man, and true American legend; has left behind God's heavenly bodies of water in exchange for his wings in the sky. Surely he will set the record for most trips from heaven to earth and back.

  3. What beautiful words Joshua Ruiz, thank you
    ~from his daughter, patti

  4. He helped me become the first african american in the channel swimming assoc. record books..we swam a relay aug.13,1981...Tom was a great father...Loved his kids immensely...Mike Johnson ..Frisco,Tx


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