So Martin Strel came and made a presentation to our LOST swimmers on Friday… and it was great! It was a casual event and Martin regaled us with his stories for over an hour… and man, does he have stories!
Far too many stories for me to summarize, in fact, far to many even for him to touch on in one presentation. You can start with the fact that he was a high level competitive swimmer, has run a 2:57 marathon (when he was out of shape and over 200 lbs) and then became an professional marathon swimmer. But the real fun, and worldwide notoriety, came when he took on huge adventure swims. Can you imagine the stories you would have if you’d sum for 84 hours straight… yes, 84 hours… down the Danube… or swam the entire length of the Mississippi… or swam the entire length of the incredibly filthy Yangtze River in China. But the most intriguing swim, as if the others were boring, was his swim of over 5600 km’s, over 66 consecutive days, of the Amazon River! Running into a the deadly Bushmaster snake on the second day… having to have his back stitched up from the piranha bites… enjoying swimming with the dolphins for days on end… because they protected him from the Bull Sharks! And on and on…
A few us even got our picture taken with him, bought an autographed copy of the full length DVD of the Amazon swim (which won awards at the Sundance and Toronto Film Festivals) had time for a plate of nachos and a couple of pints after the presentation!
With regards to the movie, I must say that I had spoken to Martin and more so to his son, Borut, in the past, but most of my impression of Martin came from the movie. And believe it or not, the movie made him look… hmm, more than a little crazy. Well, he’s definitely cut from a different cloth than most of us… but I must say that I was surprised at what a “normal” guy he really is. He would be the first to tell you that he gets into a different mind set for these big swims… which I would think is a bit of an understatement… but the Martin that we met was a thoughtful, intelligent, down-to-earth and just a generally nice man. Really a treat to meet and speak with someone that has experienced so much in his life. Thanks Martin!
PS. If you want a copy of the movie, I’m sure you could drop him an email and either he or Borut would sent you a copy ($25), Strelswimming.com. He has also started a new business, he and Borut run a swim camp in Arizona at the beautiful Lake Powell. Borut is sending me some info on that and I’ll put that up in another post in a few days.