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Tom Hetzel

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Tom Hetzel, co-founder of the Manhattan Island Swimming Association

Thomas John Hetzel was an American open water swimmer who inducted in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame as an Honour Swimmer in 1980.

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Tributes

He passed away 17 October 2011 in Texas. Joshua Ruiz said of him, "He was an astonishingly humble man and a true American legend. He has left behind God's heavenly bodies of water in exchange for his wings in the sky."

Dale Petranech, Honorary Secretary of the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame, commented, "We will all miss our friend and fellow swimmer. He made great contributions to marathon swimming. I am sure that we cannot list and appreciate everything that Tommy has accomplished. His eight times across the English Channel and his coaching of several channel swimmers, including coaching great Doc Counsilman, is but a part of his legacy. It is truly a sad day, we will all miss this giant in marathon swimming."

Drury Gallagher, co-founder of the Manhattan Island Swimming Association with Hetzel, remembers, "Tom and I grew up on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean in Rockaway Beach, New York. We had the same teacher and mentor, Joseph Ruddy: a legend, Olympian swimmer and water polo player and member of the International Swimming Hall of Fame. Were it not for Tom, there would be no Manhattan Island Marathon Swim. He was the inspiration and motivational force behind the Manhattan Island Swimming Association. It was through the successes of his English Channel swims that he opened the rivers around Manhattan Island for swimmers from around the world."

Multi-circumnavigation Swims around Manhattan Island

1979 double attempt - George Kauffmann of the USA
1980 double attempt - Tom Hetzel of the USA
1983 double success - Julie Ridge of the USA in over 21 hours
1984 double attempt - Ben Huggard of the USA [with his feet tied in a charity swim]
1984 triple success - Stacy Chanin of the USA in 33 hours 30 minutes
2007 double success - Marcos Diaz of the Dominican Republic (wetsuit) in 22 hours 14 minutes
2007 double/triple success - Skip Storch of the USA in 20 hours 56 minutes (double) and 32 hours 52 minutes (triple)
2016 double success - Pieter Christian Jongeneel Anderica of Spain in 20 hours 15 minutes

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