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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.

Heltzel, 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.

Hetzel 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 World Open Water Swimming Association

8 comments:

  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!

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  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.

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

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  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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  5. I first met the great man Tom Hetzel in the local church in Dover,England. He got chatting after the service and explained his reasons for being in Dover.To attempt the Channel Swim.
    We followed Tom through his training regime and joined in towards the end for a splash around in the tide between the Harbour Piers.
    We met Tom every year for a chat and cup of tea,to catch up with his record attempts.
    Me and my brother were only 6 and 8 in 1970 and i learned to swim in Dover pool but both of us went on to be successful swimmers in the pool, lake and sea.
    Tom always encouraged us to push ourselves.He was a lovely man and a legend.
    Sadly, i have just learned of his passing and pass my condolencies on to his family and in the knowledge of wherever Tom was in the world ,he left fond memories with people like me and my parents.We still have the photos of our meet ups.

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    Replies
    1. Please email your photos of your meetings with Tom to headcoach@openwatersource.com, along with additional recollections, so we can write another follow-up article on his legacy. Thank you very much in advance.

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    2. Hi Steve,I have contacted my brother with regards to any old photos and he has confirmed an old picture taken outside of the Catholic Church in Dover.It shows Tom ,my mother Norah(now deceased)my brother Shaun and of course myself,Andy.He also thinks there maybe some old Cine8 footage of us swimming between the Piers at Dover.
      I will contact you in due course once we have them available and maybe able to put on a CD/DVD perhaps.
      Kind Regards from England

      Andy Downing

      Delete
  6. Wonderful. These snippets of history are greatly appreciated by the current and future generations of swimmers.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you very much for your interest in the world of open water swimming.

The Staff of the World Open Water Swimming Association

2014 Global Open Water Swimming Conference

Learn more...
Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR THE CONFERENCE

The Global Open Water Swimming Conference is a conference on the sport of open water swimming, marathon swimming and swimming during triathlons and multi-sport endurance events.

The conference which has been attended by enthusiasts and luminaries from 6 continents, is devoted to providing information about the latest trends, race tactics, training techniques, equipment, psychological preparation, race organization and safety practices used in the sports of open water swimming, marathon swimming and triathlons.

The conference's mission is to provide opportunities to listen and meet many of the world's most foremost experts in open water swimming, and to meet and discuss the sport among swimmers, coaches, administrators, event organizers, sponsors, vendors, officials, escort pilots, and volunteers from kayakers to safety personnel.

Dozens of presentations at the 2014 Conference at the Mount Stuart House cover numerous aspects of the vast and growing world of open water swimming where attendees can learn and share the latest trends, race tactics, training modalities, swimming techniques, equipment, race organization, logistics, operations, and safety practices for open water swimming as a solo swimmer, competitive athlete, fitness swimmer, masters swimmer, triathlete, multi-sport athlete, administrator, race promoter, sponsor or referee.

The conference was first held in Long Beach, California as part of the 2010 USA Swimming National Open Water Swimming Championships. It has since been held on the Queen Mary in California, at Columbia University and the United Nations in New York City, and in Cork, Ireland. This year in September, it comes to another iconic location, the Mount Stuart House on the Isle of Bute in Scotland.

"The Global Open Water Swimming Conference was started due to the desire and need for athletes, coaches, referees, administrators, race directors, promoters and sponsors from around the world to share, collect and learn information about the growing sports of open water swimming, marathon swimming and triathlons," said founder Steven Munatones. "Other swimming conferences usually offering nothing on open water swimming or perhaps a speech or two, but we thought open water swimming deserves its own global conference. It is great that the community shares its information via the online social network, but there is nothing like meeting other open water swimming enthusiasts face-to-face and talking about the sport from morning to night."

Speakers at the conference include English Channel swimmers, ice swimmers, record holders, renowned coaches, world champions, professional marathon swimmers, renowned race directors, officials and administrators from the Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania.

"Because the audience is passionate and educated about the sport and its finest practitioners, the Global Open Water Swimming Conference is also the location of the induction ceremonies for the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame and the annual WOWSA Awards that recognize the World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year, the World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year, the World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year, and the World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year. Special Lifetime Achievement Awards are also occasionally presented to individuals who have made significant contributions to the sport over their career."

The 2014 Global Open Water Swimming Conference Programme

Wednesday, September 17th
Leave Glasgow to commence 2-day tour of Scotland [closest international airport is Glasgow]

Thursday, September 18th
Stay Mainland, North of Scotland

Friday, September 19th
14:00 - Swim Loch Lomond
17:00 - Head to Isle of Bute
19:30 - Scottish Banquet
21:30 - Dinner Dance

Saturday, September 20th
09:00 - Registration & Coffee
10:00 - Speeches
12:20 - Lunch and WOWSA Awards
13:40 – Speeches
15:40 - Round Table
19:00 - International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Dinner & Induction Ceremony

Sunday, September 21st
09:00 - Registration & Coffee
10:00 - Speeches
14:30 - Swim in St Ninian's Bay on the Isle of Bute

The luminaries of the open water swimming world who will be honored in Scotland will include:

* Sandra Bucha (U.S.A.), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer and International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Swimmer
* Jon Erikson (U.S.A.), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* Claudio Plit (Argentina), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* Judith van Berkel-de Njis (Netherlands), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* David Yudovin (U.S.A.), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* Mercedes Gleitze (Great Britain), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* George Young (Canada), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* Dale Petranech (U.S.A.), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Contributor
* Melissa Cunningham (Australia), 2013 Irving Davids-Captain Roger Wheeler Memorial Award winner
* Vojislav Mijić (Serbia), International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Swimmer
* James Anderson (U.S.A.), International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Administrator
* Dr. Jane Katz (U.S.A.), International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Administrator
* Indonesian Swimming Federation, , International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Organisation
* Elizabeth Fry (U.S.A.), International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Swimmer
* Pádraig Mallon (Ireland), the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year
* Olga Kozydub (Russia), the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year
* Bering Strait Swim (international team), the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year
* International Ice Swimming Association (Ram Barkai, founder, South Africa), the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year

For additional articles on the 2014 Global Open Water Swimming Conference, visit:

* Olga Kozydub To Be Honored In Scotland
* Pádraig Mallon To Be Honored In Mount Stuart Castle
* Mount Stuart House, Splendid Setting For Swimming
* Colleen Blair To Kick-off Global Open Water Swimming Conference
* The Man Who Swims Better Than He Walks
* Joining In The Sea Goddess At The Hall Of Fame
* Mercedes Gleitze To Be Honored In Scotland
* The Incredible Career Of Merceded Gleitze
* Jon Erikson To Be Honoured In Florida
* The Incredible Career Of Mercedes Gleitze
* St Ninian's Bay To Host International Swim Conference

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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