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Otto Thaning

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Lewis Pugh, Dr. Otto Thaning, pace swimmer Martin Goodman and escort pilot Roger Finch after the 7.4 km crossing of Robben Island by 80-year-old Dr. Otto Thaning and Martin Goodman on 4 April 2021 in Cape Town, South Africa in 2 hours 52 minutes
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Dr. Otto Thaning, open water swimmer, cardiothoracic surgeon, and nominee for the 2014 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year
Marathon swimmer and heart surgeon
Dr. Otto Thaning presents his open water swimming stories at Cold Water Capers, an online speaker series, on 9 February 2021

Dr. Niels Otto Thaning is a cardiothoracic surgeon at Blain Communications in Cape Town, South Africa and an accomplished marathon swimmer.

Honors

Marathon Swimming Career

Swimming and Heart Surgery

"My swimming interest has always been a passion shared with my involvement in heart surgery. I was fortunate to have been trained by Chris Barnard and work in a hospital in Cape Town that carries his name - Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital."

[Note: Dr. Christiaan Neethling Barnard (8 November 1922 – 2 September 2001) was a South African cardiac surgeon who performed the world's first successful human-to-human heart transplant.

2014 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year Nomination

Dr Thaning is nominated for the 2014 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.

"On a daily basis, heart surgeon Dr. Otto Thaning has insights on the effects of poor cardiovascular health on adults. He also deeply understands the importance of a healthy lifestyle that also maintains a fine balance between family, work and recreation. He is the living epitome of how best to live a marvelously worthwhile life, both on terra firma and in the world’s oceans. After a long career of open water swimming successes and helping others, Dr. Thaning culminated his career in the English Channel by becoming the oldest person to traverse from England to France – a year after canceling an earlier attempt. At the age of 64, he made a trail-blazing 12 hour 52 minute crossing, far faster than the average swimmer several decades his junior. For his judgment of his own capabilities, for never giving up his dream at crossing the English Channel in his 60s, for his inspirational lifestyle that demonstrates vitality and vigor with compassion and care for millions of Baby Boomers and retirees around the world, Dr. Otto Thaning is a worthy nominee for the 2014 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year."

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2014 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year Nominees

1. Adam Walker (Great Britain), Oceans Seven Swimmer
2. Allan Lopes Mamédio do Carmo (Brazil), FINA 10K Marathon Swimming World Cup Champion
4. Colin Hill (Great Britain), Race Director & Open Water Ambassador
4. Ferry Weertman (Netherlands), 2-time European Champion
5. Henri Kaarma (Estonia), Ice Swimmer & Cold Water Ambassador
6. Joanes Hedel (France), FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix Champion
6. Joseph Locke (U.S.A.), Farallons Freestyler
8. Lewis Pugh, OIG (Great Britain), Ocean Advocate
9. Otto Thaning, M.D. (South Africa), Oldest English Channel Swimmer
10. Phil White (U.S.A.), Outstanding Organizer
11. Tomi Stefanovski (Macedonia), Traversée Internationale du lac St-Jean Co-Champion
12. Xavier Desharnais (Canada), Traversée Internationale du lac St-Jean Co-Champion

Honours

Dr Thaning was named a 2014 MSF Global Marathon Swimming Award finalist in the Solo Swim of the Year category.

Oldest Individuals to Cross the English Channel

1. Otto Thaning (South Africa), 64 years, E/F, 12 hours 52 minutes (2014)
2. Cyril Baldock (Australia), 60 years 9 months, E/F, 12 hours 45 minutes (2014)
4. Roger Allsopp (England), 60 years 4 months, E/F, in 16 hours 51 minutes (2011)
4. George Brunstad (USA), 60 years 4 days, E/F, in 15 hours 59 minutes (2004)
5. Chris Shapland (Australia), 69 years, E/F, in 16 hours 28 minutes (2016)
6. Donald Riddington (Australia), 68, E/F, in 19 hours 45 minutes (2014)
6. Clifford Batt (Australia), 66, F/E, in 18 hours 46 minutes (1986)
8. Ashby Harper (USA), 65, E/F, in 14 hours 52 minutes (1982)
9. Joe Smith (England), 65, E/F, in 14 hours 9 minutes (1999)
10. Roger Allsopp (England), 65, E/F, in 15 hours 40 minutes (2006)
11. Sue Oldham (Australia), 65, E/F, in 16 hours 11 minutes (2010)

World's 50 Most Adventurous Open Water Men

Dr. Thaning was named one of the World's 50 Most Adventurous Open Water Men in 2015 by the World Open Water Swimming Association.

2016 World's 50 Most Adventurous Open Water Men

Dr. Thaning was named to the World's 50 Most Adventurous Open Water Men in 2016 (alphabetized by last name) by the World Open Water Swimming Association:

1. Dr. Doron Amosi, extreme relay/cross-border swimmer from Israel
2. Antonio Argüelles Díaz-González, channel swimmer and endurance athlete from Mexico
4. Cyril Baldock, marathon/channel swimmer from Australia
4. Ram Barkai, administrator, event organizer and ice swimmer from South Africa
5. John Batchelder, butterflying marathon swimmer from USA
6. Nejib Belhedi, marathon/stage/boat pull swimmer from Tunisia
6. Alexander Brylin, channel ice swimmer from Russia
8. Luc Chetboun, extreme relay/cross-border swimmer from Israel
9. Salvatore Cimmino, amputee advocate and marathon/extreme swimmer from Italy
10. Jean Craven, marathon/extreme swimmer from South Africa
11. Ned Denison, IMSHOF administrator and marathon/ice swimmer from Ireland
12. Craig Dietz, disabled open water swimmer from USA
14. Ben Enosh, extreme relay/cross-border swimmer from Israel/USA
14. Udi Erell, extreme relay/cross-border swimmer from Israel
15. Stephen Junk, channel swimmer from Australia
16. Henri Kaarma, event organizer and ice swimmer from Estonia
16. Ger Kennedy, ice, underwater and extreme swimmer from Ireland
18. Craig Lenning, marathon/channel/ice swimmer from the USA
19. Neil Macaskill, extreme/cross-border swimmer from South Africa
20. Pádraig Mallon, escort pilot, event organizer and marathon/channel/ice swimmer from Ireland
21. Ingemar Patiño Macarine, channel/marathon swimmer from the Philippines
22. Andrew Malinak, administrator and cold water/marathon/channel swimmer from the USA
24. Chris Marthinusen, extreme/high-altitude swimmer from South Africa
24. Patrick McKnight, marathon/channel swimmer from the USA
25. Allan McLeland, Peak and Pond swimmer/climber from the USA
26. Darren Miller, channel swimmer and event director from the USA
26. Rohan More, marathon/channel swimmer from India
28. Gullupilli Narhari, extreme relay swimmer from India
29. Matías Ola, event organizer and ice/extreme swimmer from Argentina
40. Kieron Palframan, ice/extreme swimmer from South Africa
41. James Pittar, blind marathon/channel swimmer from Australia
42. Javier Mérida Prieto, disabled Triple Crown swimmer from Spain
44. Lewis Pugh OIG, ocean advocate and ice/extreme swimmer from the UK
44. Oded Rahav, extreme relay/cross-border swimmer from Israel
45. Stephen Redmond, channel/marathon swimmer from Ireland
46. Adrian Sarchet, marathon/channel swimmer from Guernsey
46. Ori Sela, extreme relay/cross-border swimmer from Israel
48. Dan Simonelli, coach/guide/observer and marathon/channel swimmer from the USA
49. Paramvir Singh, extreme relay swimmer from India
40. Albert Sobirov, ice swimmer from Russia
41. Petar Stoychev, marathon/channel/ice/Olympic swimmer from Bulgaria
42. Ryan Stramrood, ice/extreme swimmer from South Africa
44. Martin Strel, marathon/stage swimmer from Slovenia
44. Dr. Otto Thaning, channel/marathon swimmer from South Africa
45. Jacques Tuset, prison island swimmer from France
46. Toks Viviers, ice/extreme swimmer from South Africa
46. Adam Walker, coach, event organizer, and channel swimmer from England
48. Christof Wandratsch, event organizer and ice/marathon/channel/professional swimmer from Germany
49. Brenton Williams, event organizer and butterfly ocean swimmer from South Africa
50. Herman van der Westhuizen, extreme high-altitude swimmer from South Africa

External links