Martin Strel, a legendary Guinness record marathon swimmer, has always been looking for the challenges of impossible and the Amazon was the recent one. On April 7th, 2007 Martin Strel completed his epic Amazon river swim all the way from Atalaya (Peru) to the Atlantic Ocean at Belém (Brazil). He was struggling the river for 66 days for more than 10 hours a day and totallyswam 5268 kms or 3274 miles. He became a wordwide hero.
More about Martin Strel
Martin was born in Slovenia. Slovenia is a small Central European country located south of Austria. He taught himself to swim when he was 6, in a nearby stream, and became a professional marathon swimmer in 1978. Earlier in his life, he was a successful guitar player. He still plays a guitar nowadays a little.
Martin has been swimming ultra-marathons and raising an important awareness of clean waters for many years. He has dedicated several swims to the protection of environmental resources.
Many people still cannot believe what he has done so far, so that’s why they sometimes describe him as “Daredevil”, “Fishman”, “Human Fish” or even “The Craziest Man in the World”.
Of his many achievements, the greatest of these are the following:
1994: Europe (Italy), Adriatic Sea between Lignano and Ravenna, 162,5 kms 55 hrs, 11 min - Martin set up a new world long-distance record in uninterrupted ocean swimming.
1997: Africa - Europe, Mediterranean Sea between Tunisia and Italy, 78 kms 29 hrs, 36 min, 57 s - Martin became the first to cross the sea from Africa to Europe. 7 swimmers have attempted this before, all failed. Martin swam without a wetsuit under FINA (International Swimming Federation) supervision with 7 international judges.
2000: Europe (10 countries) - Danube River, 3004 kms 58 days - a new world long-distance record. Martin goes for the first time in the Guinness Book of Records. He was the first to swim the whole Danube from source to estuary. He decided to make a difference for entering into a new millennium era.
2001: Europe – Danube River, 504.5 kms Non Stop 84 hrs, 10 min – a new world record in non-stop swimming achieved on the Danube in July 2001. Martin first beat the record by Argentinean Ricardo Hoffman (481,5km, 84hrs 37min), then proceeded to swim on and finishing at 504.5 km, after 84 hrs 10 min.
2002: USA (10 states) - Mississippi River, 3797 kms 68 days - Martin swam the entire length of the Mississippi in the USA. The project was entitled Eye to Eye. Martin was the first to swim the river from source to estuary and he surpassed his Danube record and entered in the Guinness Book of Records again. He also dedicated his great sporting achievement, covered by all of the world´s major media, to peace, friendship and clean waters. He particularly reached out to the American public by stating that he lays his historic swim on the altar of remembrance of the victims of September 11.
2003: Argentina – Paraná River, 1930 kms 24 days - Martin made it all the way from Iguazzu Falls to the center of Buenos Aires in the Rio de la Plata, becoming the first man to have swam the entire 1930 kms of this tricky South American river. He was swimming from from dawn to dust and averaged over 80 kms per day.
2004: PR China - Yangtze River, 4003 kms In 51 days of struggling in the muddy China river Martin surpassed his record from the Mississippi 2002. This project was the most demanding to date in all respects so far. A new Guinness Record was broken again. The project was covered by CCTV 9 channel and followed through Yahoo China website.
2007: Peru, Brazil - Amazon River, 5268 kms 66 days: Most of the people could not believed it until it happened. The Amazon is known as largest, longest and the most dangerous river in the world. Martin decided to risk his life and made a history. For him this was a story of “Achieving the Impossible”. Martin wanted to show the world that people can achieve their dreams and goals with hard work and persistence. He also promoted the importance of preservation of the Rain forest, the biggest oxygen producer on the planet. A new Guinness Record has been broken again. The whole world was following this amazing historical event and American filmmakers produced an award winning (Sundance 2009) feature-length documentary called Big River Man which is distributed by Discovery Channel in North America. The book: The man who swam the Amazon has been released in many countries worldwide.
Martin Strel has recently received many invitations from all over the world and he become an international speaker and educator. He is currently training for a new action swim in the Grand Canyon. More about the project at www.grandcanyonswim.com
Publications: 2002: Book - Martin Strel in (on) the Mississippi 2002: Film - Eye To Eye, Mississippi swim 2002 2007: Book - The Man who Swam the Amazon 2008: Film - Big River Man - feature length documentary (Sundance 2009 winner)