Big River Man

From Openwaterpedia
Big River Man starring Martin Strel, nominated for the 2012 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year
Martin Strel speaking at the 2011 Global Open Water Swimming Conference in New York City. Photo by Skip Storch

Big River Man is a swimming film feature documentary starring Martin Strel directed by the acclaimed art-house director John Maringouin. The film chronicled Strel's 3,300-mile historic swim down the Amazon River. It won a Best Cinematography prize at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, and was critically praised for its extraordinary blend of comedy and drama.

2012 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year Nomination

The documentary was nominated for the 2012 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year award. Its World Open Water Swimming Association nomination reads,

When Martin Strel challenged the Amazon River in 2007, the audacity of his dreams was defined by the power, length and dangers of the mightiest river in the world. Mother Nature had the upper hand from beginning to end, but the strength of his character carried Big River Man to victory. Piranhas and pirates, jungles and jeopardy, heat and hazards, the Slovenian adventurer slogged and struggled his way down the entire length of the Amazon River together with a 22-person international support crew. His unprecedented feat against Mother Nature in the steamy tropics was captured on film to astound viewers sitting in the comfort of their homes. The multi-dimensional, multi-lingual Strel is the charismatic character in the center of the world's wildest movie set. With success never guaranteed during his 66-day stage swim, his exploits are showcased in Big River Man. For its footage in the most unlikely open water swimming venue, for Strel's continuous support of the open water swimming world, Big River Man is a worthy nominee for the 2012 WOWSA Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.


Martin Strel

Martin Strel is a legendary Slovenian long-distance swimmer. Strel was born on 1 October 1954 in the town of Mokronog, in the Slovenian region of Lower Carniola, then part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. He is best known for completing Stage swims along the entire length of the Danube River, the Mississippi River, the Yangtze River, and the Amazon River. He is a member of the 24-hour club.

He spoke at the 2011 Global Open Water Swimming Conference and will be recognized and honored at the 2012 Global Open Water Swimming Conference and the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame induction ceremonies on the RMS Queen Mary on 22 September 2012 in Long Beach, California.


in English: Big River Man, Fish man
in Portuguese: Homem Peixe
in Spanish: Pez humano
in Slovene: Zabca (frog)
in Chinese: Maladin

Swimming Career

Strel's first two river swims were in the Krka River (105 km) in Slovenia in 28 hours in 1992, and in the Kolpa river (62 kilometres (39 mi)) in 16 hours in 1993. In 2000, he swam in the Danube River (2,860 kilometres (1,780 mi)) and achieved the world stage swim record (3,004 kilometres (1,867 mi) in a 58-day swim. In July 2001, he set another more world record — 504.5 kilometres (313.5 mi) when he swam non-stop in the Danube River for 84 hours and 10 minutes.

In 2002, he swam along the entire Mississippi River (3,885 kilometres (2,414 mi)) in 68 days. In 2003, he swam the Argentine Paraná River (3,998 kilometres (2,484 mi)). On 10 June 2004, Martin started swimming down the Yangtze River (4,003 kilometres (2,487 mi), the longest river in Asia and the third longest in the world) in China. He reached Shanghai in 40 days on 30 July 2004, one day earlier than planned.

Strel swam the Amazon River starting on 1 February 2007 and finished 66 days later on April 7, 2007. This was a record-breaking stage swim of 5,268 kilometres (3,273 mi), longer than the width of the Atlantic Ocean. He had escort boats that were prepared to pour blood into the river to distract meat-eating fish such as piranhas.

In 2007, the Nile had been proposed as his next river, but Strel said, "I am not going to do the Nile. It's long but not challenging enough, it is just a small creek. The Amazon is much more mighty."

In June 2011 Strel completed his Colorado River Swim challenge for a new TV show. He will appear on the History Channel and the National Geographic Channel in the United States in the summer of 2012.

External links