Kari Lundgren talks to long-distance swimmer Martin Strel on his swim down the Amazon.

Feature article published in Royal Automobile Club Magazine (October 2011)


Even great explorers have pipe dreams. For Martin Strel – a man who’s faced down piranhas in the Amazon, dodged dead bodies in the Yangtze and holds the world record for the globe’s longest unbroken swim – it’s climbing Mt. Everest.

Amazon, Danube, Yangtze; each feat hints at an athlete with a Michael Phelps physique, Arnold Schwarzenegger determination and Lance Armstrong ability to endure pain. And at 56, Strel is certainly fit, strong-willed and capable of handling stress. That said, he also has a bit of a paunch, cheerfully drinks up to two bottles of Slovenian red wine – Cvicek – during a day of swimming and admits that he’s never been quite the same since he dragged his near-broken body from the brackish, silty waters of the Amazon at Belém, Brazil. ‘It’s been four years since I finished, but I’m still not clear,’ Strel says. ‘If you know every stroke can be your last…

The father-son partnership remains strong, with Borut handling much of Strel’s PR. He also manages Strel Swimming Adventures, which organises swim holidays in Slovenia and Croatia, and is planning a U.S. location starting next year…

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