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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Craig Dietz Heads To South Africa For aQuellé Midmar Mile

Craig Dietz has done more with less. Significantly less than other able-bodied athletes He's an open water swimmer, a bowler, a skier, a drummer, an avid outdoorsman, and he drives his own van.

He is also a licenced attorney, but he has a heart. A huge heart and a burning passion within especially he accomplishes this all without arms or legs. He arrived today in South Africa to swim the aQuellé Midmar Mile and to give one stirring motivational speech.

Dietz was born in 1974 without limbs, but that has never stood in his way. He graduated from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh and passed the bar exam on his first attempt, all without any special accommodations.

When he took up open water swimming in 2008, he completed a 1.5 km swim in the Pittsburgh Triathlon in 40 minutes 20 seconds. Two years after that, in 2010, his time in the Pittsburgh Triathlon swim was 30:14. In 2011, he attempted the 4.4-mile (7 km) Great Chesapeake Bay Swim, but had to pull out after 3.5 miles when lightning began to strike. Undaunted, he completed the swim in the 2012 event.

"It (the Chesapeake Bay swim) was the crown jewel I had been eyeing for a few years," he told Swimming World Magazine. "As a competitive person, when something kicks your butt, you do what you can to go back and kick its butt." American Sportswriter of the Year Rick Reilly called Dietz, “a marvel, a phenomenon, a wonder”. We agree 100%.

Earlier this year, he was selected to deliver a speech at the Global Open Water Swimming Conference in Long Beach, California. It shouldn’t have come as a surprise to anyone that he stole the show. He was also nominated for the 2012 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year. Midmar Mile race director Wayne Riddin, who was also up for the award, said Dietz had been his choice out of the 15 nominees. Dietz’s nomination read, “With one speech, Craig Dietz moved the world at the Global Open Water Swimming Conference. His delivery was so riveting; his message was so powerful; his courage was so compelling that race directors from around the world invited him to their events throughout Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas. He had luminaries of the sport breathless as he captivated them with his sense of mission, humility, humour, and hunger to succeed. When he swims, it is obvious that he is an athlete: undulating to reach his aquatic goals. He is fearless and bold. Born without arms and without legs, courage and creativity are part of his DNA. Dietz shows others how far drive and imagination can take us.

His swims this year spanned America: 5 km at Swim Across America on the West Coast and 4.4 miles at the Great Chesapeake Bay Swim on the East Coast. For his depth of character, for his willingness to try to extend himself in the open water, for his charismatic personality that immediately creates fans and inspires wonder, Craig Dietz is a worthy nominee for the 2012 WOWSA Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.”

Dietz and two-time 10km World Open Water swimming champion Keri-Anne Payne will be the speakers at a breakfast to be held at the Golden Horse Hotel and Casino this Friday, the day before the 2013 aQuellé Midmar Mile. The Midmar Mile has long been a showcase of what athletes with disabilities can achieve, with their performances and courage often moving able-bodied spectators to tears. Craig Dietz will, no doubt, be at home in the world’s largest open water swimming event, among a large field of fellow athletes with disabilities inspiring more and more people to overcome obstacles.

For more information on the aQuellé Midmar Mile, visit here.

Copyright © 2013 by Open Water Source

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