|Big River Man
Martin Strel-Big River Man
October 1, 1954 |
Mokronog, SR Slovenia, SFR Yugoslavia (Now Slovenia)
Martin Strel ( listen (help·info)) (born 1 October 1954) in Mokronog, SFR Yugoslavia, is a Slovenian long-distance swimmer, best known for swimming the entire length of various rivers. Strel holds successive Guinness World Records for swimming the Danube river, the Mississippi River, the Yangtze River, and the Amazon River. His motto is "swimming for peace, friendship and clean waters." 
Swimming history 
Strel was born in the town of Mokronog, in the Slovenian region of Lower Carniola, then part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Strel's first two river swims were the Krka river (105 km) in his homeland, in 28 hours in 1992, and the boundary Kolpa river (62 kilometres (39 mi)), in 16 hours in 1993. In 2000, he swam the Danube River (2,860 kilometres (1,780 mi)) and achieved the world long distance swimming record (3,004 kilometres (1,867 mi)) in 58 days. In July 2001, he achieved one more world record — 504.5 kilometres (313.5 mi) of non-stop swimming in Danube within 84 hours and 10 minutes.
In 2002, he swam the entire Mississippi River (3,885 kilometres (2,414 mi)) in 68 days. In 2003, he swam the Argentine Paraná River (3,998 kilometres (2,484 mi)). On 10 June 2004, Martin started swimming down the Yangtze River (4,003 kilometres (2,487 mi), the longest river in Asia, the third longest in the world) in China. He reached Shanghai in 40 days on 30 July 2004, one day before planned.
Strel swam the Amazon River, commencing on 1 February 2007, finishing 66 days later on April 7, 2007. This was a record-breaking distance of 5,268 kilometres (3,273 mi), longer than the width of the Atlantic Ocean. He had escort boats that were prepared to pour blood into the river to distract meat-eating fish such as piranhas.
In 2007, the Nile had been proposed as his next river, but Strel said, "I am not going to do the Nile. It's long but not challenging enough, it is just a small creek. The Amazon is much more mighty."
He plans to swim across Lake Arenal on September 29, 2010 as part of his visit to an environmentalist international film festival in Costa Rica. He plans to swim about 6 kilometres from shore and then back to his starting point.
Big River Man 
Strel was recently the subject and star of a feature documentary entitled Big River Man directed by the acclaimed art-house director John Maringouin. The film, which won a Best Cinematography prize at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, was critically praised for its extraordinary blend of comedy and drama. The film chronicled Strel's 3,300 mile historic swim of the Amazon.
Strel Swimming Adventures 
In 2011, Martin Strel and his son Borut Strel, have founded a company that organizes Swimming Adventure Holidays in the Mediterranean and at Lake Powell, Arizona. They currently offer swimming adventure holiday tours at Lake Powell, Arizona, in Slovenia (Lake Bled, Lake Bohinj, River Soca) and at Croatian Dalmatian Coast swimming from island to island. Strel takes part of some trips.
- Pav Jordan (February 9, 2007). "Blistering sun main threat so far for Amazon swimmer". ABC News. Retrieved 2007-04-09.[dead link]
- Andrei Khalip (January 19, 2007). "Buckets of blood readied for Amazon swim". Yahoo! News. Archived from the original on 2007-01-26. Retrieved 2007-01-20.
- "Slovenian completes Amazon swim". BBC News. 7 April 2007. Retrieved 2007-04-09.
- John Maringouin (director) (2009). Big River Man.
- Muello, Peter (April 7, 2007). "Man Swims 3,272-Mile Amazon in 65 Days". Associated Press.
- Fonseca, Pablo (27 September 2010). "Reconocido ambientalista esloveno nadará en el lago Arenal" [Renowned Slovenian environmentalist will swim in Lake Arenal]. La Nación (in Spanish) (San José, Costa Rica).
- Strel's official site
- The Amazon Swim Project site
- Strel Swimming Adventure Holidays site
- Diary of Amazon swim at BBC news