If someone were to compile a list of the most interesting people alive, Martin Strel would be near the top of the list.
Known as the “fish man,” this Slovenian swimmer is one of the best long-distance swimmers ever known– second only to creatures with gills and fins.
And why does he swim? For friendship, peace, and clean waters, according to him.
If it’s big and full of water, he’s probably swam in it, made friends with the animals who live there, and enjoyed copious amounts of wine to top it all off.
So, who exactly is Martin Strel?
Martin Strel was born on October 1st, 1954 in a town called Mokronog, Slovenia– though, at the time of his birth, it was known as the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
When he was very young, he swam as a way to get away from his home life.
He was a rowdy kid (which surprises no one who meets him; much can be said of Martin Strel, but no one would call him a shrinking violet), and often when he broke the rules, his father would beat him. As a result, he ran away quite often.
On one occasion, he was running away from his father when they came upon a stream. Cornered, he jumped into the water and wound up swimming for several miles as his father chased him on foot.
When he was ten years old, a bunch of soldiers showed up and decided to race in the pool that he created. Strel beat them all and won the prize: a crate of beer. That was the dawn of a life of drinking, swimming and defying expectations.
What is his Superpower?
Martin Strel is unmatched in the water. He is most widely known for swimming the whole length of several different rivers, and holds several world records to this day– he has earned Guinness World Records in swimming for Danube River, which he swam in 58 days, the Mississippi River, which took 68, the Yangtze River, which took 40, and the Amazon River, which took 66.
If you’re not familiar with long-distance swimming, you may not understand just how big each of these rivers is, so, to give you some idea: when he swam the Amazon River in 66 days, Martil Strel covered a distance of 3,373 miles, which is longer than the Atlantic Ocean’s entire width.
In addition to putting up with a long journey, the fish man had to keep himself alive against all sorts of creatures.
He recently featured on Stan Lee’s Superhumans
Stan Lees Superhumans – Fishman
Genetic or Learned Superpower?
When tested on Stan Lee’s Superhuman’s Martin didn’t show signs of fatigue as normal humans do.
With this in mind, we believe his super power is, at least in some part, because of genetics.
What can we learn from him?
Though some find him to be personally off-putting, and his doctors surely think him foolish for repeatedly swimming against their advice, Martin Strel is the living, breathing incarnation of tenacity and determination.
He taught himself how to swim with little to no support from his father. When he cannot find one major sponsor for his expeditions, he makes do with a bunch of smaller ones.
He persists again and again despite risk of sunstroke, piranha attack, exhaustion, and other medical complications.
You know you’re a stubborn man when you insist on drinking two bottles of wine per day even after your blood pressure reaches life-threatening levels during an expedition.
He continues on long after many of his peers have quit, and his enthusiasm never wavers.
What is he currently doing?
Most recently, Martin Strel swam from the Statue of Liberty to the Freedom Tower in 2012, but he hasn’t been idle the past three years. He and his son created a company that organizes swimming trips in several locations around the world.
The company, Strel Swimming Adventures, operates in Greece, Croatia, Turkey, Arizona, and, of course, Slovenia.
He is currently in the middle of preparation for an expedition that will occur sometime in 2016. Even as he ages, he continues to show no signs of slowing down, and many fans await further news of his next adventure.
Videos and Links
Martin Strel-Marathon Swimmer