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Saturday, February 11, 2012
Martin Strel Talks About His Big River Swims
He spoke how he faced anacondas, bull sharks, crocodiles, piranha that took chunks of skin out of him, pirates, Class III and Class IV rapids, logistical difficulties, helpful locals, and a variety of tropical diseases.
He talked about many of the cooperative politicians and administrators with whom he as met in the 151 countries where he has swum. With a broad Slovenian smile, he took the stage and introduced himself as "I am Martin Strel...still alive."
In painting a general overview of his expeditions, he gave credit and praise to his support personnel including his medical team, communications team, security team and kayak team. "First, you must find a really good team. They must deal with being on the same boat for three months, surviving diseases and pirates."
When he was told over and over again that he should go home, forget his adventures and that he would die if he tried swimming the Amazon or Yangtze Rivers, he said, "I decided to risk my life. I wanted to show the world that everyone can achieve their own dreams with hard work and dedication. But it was hard. Very, very hard. I was gambling with my life. For example, piranha bit me every day in the Amazon. Thousands and thousands of them were all around me, but my team learned to redirect them with buckets of blood thrown in the water." Martin explained the hardest parts of his swims. "It was the first week. Can you imagine having to organize everything and swim every day with only 2 or 3 hours of sleep? One day, OK. Two days, maybe. After three days, you are swimming like a dead man. After one week, it is very difficult. But I had to continue and pushed my body. Your mind must be tough.
You have to be very busy in your mind. Because swimming one hour in the water is not like running one hour on land. You cannot talk, you can only think. I am thinking about my favorite stories, my family and many many things. But when you are busy in your mind, you will question yourself. You will think how difficult your swim is. But you have to finish each day; you have to finish the swim. Only on the last day, can I celebrate."
He explained a trick to overcome his fears and his need to swim despite a severe lack of sleep. "I can hypnotize yourself. I once swam for 4 days and 3 nights non-stop. [Including the pre-swim and post-swim activities], I did not sleep for 105 hours. I can do it - and you can do too. If I fall asleep on my long swims, my crew knows not to wake me up. I swim a little crooked and sometimes, I even swim the wrong direction, but I always am moving forward.
On the long swims, I was like a father of a team of 22 people. I had to manage people in the boat. They had problems. They got homesick. They wanted to talk to their wives, so I let them use our satellite phone. They got diseases and had to go to the hospital. But I needed them to watch me 100% of the time. Their eyes must be on me all the time. They had guns, knives, machetes, whistles. They had to protect me from debris and whirlpools and piranha - and even sometimes dead bodies in the river," Martin explained as he showed a video of the cadaver in the river beside him.
With his arduous swims behind him, Martin smiled all week long during Midmar Mile week. He took photos with swimmers, he signed books, he showed videos of his swims, he counseled people on tropical diseases and he encouraged them non-stop. "Our aim is to get more people swimming outdoors and enjoying what nature has to offer," explained his son and lead guide Borut. "Swimming in the open water is an exhilarating experience which can be enjoyed in diverse locations all over the world. My father and I have experienced some of the most beautiful and dangerous swims in the world, but each person has their own level of experience and abilities. Whether you are an experienced swimmer or someone who simply wants to try something different, Martin has encouraged people all his life to swim. Swimming is a great lifestyle."
Photo above is of Lake Powell where Martin was filmed for an upcoming television program and where he runs adventure swimming tours.
Copyright © 2012 by Open Water Source
2014 Global Open Water Swimming Conference
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
Swim Across the English Channel...
Who else is looking for a qualified open water swimming coach to help them swim across the English Channel?Chloë McCardel is a 6-time English Channel Swimmer who inspires and instructs. Access featured content by Chloë in this month's issue of the Open Water Swimming Magazine. Published monthly by WOWSA, the Open Water Swimming Magazine is a digital, interactive publication made available exclusively to WOWSA members. See what you've been missing! Become a WOWSA member today!
Open Water Swimming Magazine
Open Water Swimming MagazineThe Open Water Swimming Magazine is the monthly magazine entirely focused on open water swimming heroes and heroines of every age, ability, and background. Published by the World Open Water Swimming Association, the Open Water Swimming Magazine is a free benefit to WOWSA members.
WOWSA Member Benefits include 12 issues of the Open Water Swimming Magazine, the annual 276-page Open Water Swimming Almanac, a free listing in Sponsor My Swim, outstanding product discounts from FINIS, an entry in Openwaterpedia and more...
The Other Shore
The Other Shore follows world record holder and legendary swimmer Diana Nyad as she comes out of a thirty-year retirement to re-attempt an elusive dream: swimming 103 miles non-stop from Cuba to Florida without the use of a shark cage. Her past and present collide in her obsession with a feat that nobody has ever accomplished. At the edge of The Devil’s Triangle, tropical storms, sharks, venomous jellyfish, and one of the strongest ocean currents in the world, all prove to be life-threatening realities. Timothy Wheeler’s documentary brings Diana Nyad’s extraordinary adventure to life as Diana sets out to prove that will and determination are all you need to make the unimaginable possible.
2014 Open Water Swimming Almanac
An Almanac for Open Water SwimmingAn almanac is essentially a body of knowledge which is so complete that it enables people in different fields to make predictions about the future of their respective industries.
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Preview the Open Water Swimming Almanac:
The trends are very clear.
The tide is rising for open water swimming.