Read an amazing adventure article about swimming lakes in Slovenia with the legendary marathon swimmer Martin Strel. Writer Kate travels on our 4-day swimming holiday trip as a guest to experience what it takes to swim across Lake Bled, Bohinj, Predil and Soca river.
Martin Strel doesn’t look like an elite athlete. When I meet him on the shores of Lake Bled, he’s wearing blue neoprene shorts, a black lycra shirt and a barrel-shaped belly. If we’re talking in terms of characters, then he’s somewhere between Paddington Bear and a Bond villain. “Welcome to Slovenia,” he says, greeting the group who have come to spend a few days swimming across his native land.
Martin is the Big River Man, a superhuman who has conquered some of the world’s greatest waterways, including the Mississippi (really long), the Yangtze (full of pollution) and the Rhine (colder than a cast-iron bath on the shady side of an iceberg). Strel’s 66-day journey down the Amazon has been recorded in a Sundance nominated documentary that details him confronting piranhas, first-degree sunburn and delirium.
With the support of his son, Borut, Martin has started an outdoor swimming company which leads guided swims across some of the world’s most epic lakes and rivers. I’ve risen to the (hopefully piranha-free) challenge and signed up for the Slovenia-based course.
Did you know that open water swimming is the second fastest growing sport in the UK? In the past year, Nike launched its first swim range as Instagram exploded with ‘swimfluencers’. Until now, I’ve been happy pootling around the local leisure centre, but I’ve started to feel a bit, well, caged. With warmer weather just around the corner, I figure it’s time to get away from the horrors of chlorine, verrucas and tiled floors – to break out of the lanes and into the lakes.
Swim story continues …
>>Read the whole article PDF: Swimming Lakes in Slovenia.
Video of Swimming Across Lake Bled: