“Daredevil”, “human fish”, “the hero in a speedo” or “the craziest man in the world” – however you’d like to call him, he is the greatest endurance swimmer in the world! Meet the man who swims entire rivers, Martin Strel.
The now 58-year-old Slovenian Martin Strel has broken the Guinness World Record for long distance swimming multiple times. The first was in 2000, when he swam the length of the Danube river, 3004 kilometers (1867 miles), in 58 days. A year later, in 2001, he broke another record by swimming 504 kilometers (313 miles) non-stop, in 84 hours, also on the Danube. In 2002, Strel changed continents and went to North America, where he became the first person to swim the entire length of the Mississippi river (3797 kilometers/ 2360 miles) in 68 days, thus breaking another Guinness World Record. In 2003, he swam the length of the Parana River (1930 kilometers/1200 miles) in South America, in just 24 days. In 2004, Strel became the first person to swim the length of the Yangtze river (4003 kilometers/ 2488 miles), in 51 days. It took him almost 3 years to prepare for the longest and most dangerous river in the world, but in 2007 he succeeded in breaking the record again: he swam the 5268 kilometers (3274 miles) of the Amazon river, in South America, in 66 days. Strel dedicated his most important and most difficult swim to finding a cure for Alzheimer’s and to the preservation of the rainforest.
Strel’s healthy philosophy is remarkable and highly motivational. With ideas such as his, everyone would come closer to achieving their goals. “I am a regular man, a regular common guy who just has higher goals than usual. I want to show everybody around the world that if you set a goal that is a little bit unusual or higher, you have to try to achieve it. If you keep working and don’t quit right away, you will come to the end. This could be whatever. I chose to swim the Amazon.” How does he do it? Sperl believes that in addition to hard work, there is a type of red wine that works miracles for him. “It helps me a lot, believe me. I could swim 10-12 hours every day like this. I tested many different sorts of wines , and I found this one in 2000. My feeling was <Beautiful!> and we’ve been together ever since.”
Breaking the Guinness World Record so many times and at Sperl’s age clearly wasn’t easy, but the man succeeded because he practiced what he preached. “No limits” – indeed, there are none for this modern hero. Hats off to you, Martin Sperl!