United States’ Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps may have dominated the swimming pools with his record-breaking performances, but this marathon swimmer rules the wild rivers of the world.
At 61 years of age, Slovenian marathon swimmer Martin Strel may not look like he has it in him to swim across vast bodies of water, but he is actually a Guinness world record holder. He has swam the Danube river in a record-breaking 58 days, the Mississipi in 68 days, the Yangtze in 51, and the Amazon in 66 days. To date, he is the only person to achieve the feat of swimming the whole length of the Amazon.
Throughout his entire swimming career, the five-foot-eleven-inches tall athlete has faced severe and life-threatening medical conditions and physical injuries, the most memorable of which were being attacked by piranhas in the Amazon and the liver damage he sustained from the pollution in Yangtze.
Despite his age and all the maladies he incurred from swimming, the “King of Rivers” still plans on doing marathon swims.
“My life is very connected with water”, says Strel. In another interview, he has also stated that “…my target is just to raise much more awareness on this planet. I don’t know everything, but I know a lot—I think I am one of the people on this planet who really knows what’s going on with water today. My target is to see happy fish swimming in the water”.
The world needs more athletes like Martin!
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