Conquest of the English Channel
From 1968 to 1972, Hetzel was an internationally ranked marathon swimmer and swum the English Channel eight times as a solo swimmer and captained six relay crossings that set three new records. He swam the 34K (21-mile) Traversée internationale du lac St-Jean professional race in Canada, the 32K (20-mile) Aswan High Dam competition, 48.2K (30 miles) in Baja California, 48.2K (30 miles) from Point Lookout in New York, and twelve Manhattan Island Marathon Swims as well as coached the famed Doc Counsilman on his English Channel swim. He also attempted a double circumnavigation around Manhattan Island.
He was also the co-founder of the Manhattan Island Swimming Association.