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Joseph Zemaitis

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John Zemaitis on left and Joe Zemaitis on right before the Ultimate Swim-a-Thon
Joe Zemaitis WOWSA certificate for crossing the 14.4 km Strait of Gibraltar in 2013
Joe Zemaitis competing in the S.C.A.R. Swim Challenge in Arizona
Joe Zemaitis and John Zemaitis crossing Loch Ness in Scotland under the escort of Captain Ryan Tozer

Joe Zemaitis is a 41-year-old American open water swimmer and coach from Scottsdale, Arizona.

Open Water Swimming Highlights

Foundation for Aquatic Safety and Training

Zemaitis founded the Foundation for Aquatic Safety and Training (FAST) that was inspired by Braxton Bilbrey, a 7-year-old boy, who became the youngest person to swim from Alcatraz Island to the San Francisco shoreline. Motivated by Braxton’s story, over 50 swimmers ages 8 to 18 made that same 1.4 mile stretch of frigid open-water swim the following year. These competitive swimmers became the first FAST ambassadors of water safety, reaching out to the next generation of young people with the message of water safety and drowning prevention.

2020 WOWSA Awards

Joe and John Zemaitis were nominated for the 2020 WOWSA Awards in the World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year with the following nomination: Joe Zemaitis and John Zemaitis could not be more similar and more alike. In a year like no other, the two brothers from Arizona took to the seas, rivers and lakes from coast to coast during their off times. And swim they did, in warm and cold, tranquil and turbulent. Older brother Joe and younger brother John bring two totally different approaches to the sport: one is intense and diligent, the other is laidback and swims whenever. They both smile broadly and laugh frequently; they both enjoy adventures and love travel. They set a goal when both their work schedules allow and did 644 km worth of tandem swims in 2020. For their swims across Monterey Bay, Lake Tahoe, Santa Barbara Channel, twice around Manhattan Island, for Joe's 112 km solo Roosevelt Lake swim in 47 hours 23 minutes, and for the boundless joy and goodwill and appreciation they have for others and the sport, brothers Joe and John Zemaitis of the USA are worthy nominees for the 2020 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.

Biography

Coaching Career

  • He started Swim Neptune, a competitive swim team at the Village Health Clubs in Scottsdale and Phoenix. It has grown to over 600 competitive and pre-competitive swimmers. Swim Neptune has won the Arizona Swimming Age Group State Championship eight times since 2010.
  • He has coached dozens of swimmers who have gone on to compete at the collegiate and national level.
  • In 2006, Zemaitis coached 7-year-old Braxton Bilbrey to become the youngest to swim from Alcatraz Island to San Francisco.
  • He launched the Swim FAST program, now entering its 12th year, to train over 500 swimmers (age 8 to 75) to swim from Alcatraz Island to San Francisco one day and across the Golden Gate Bridge the next.

Open Water Swimming Career

Ultimate Swim-a-Thon

The Ultimate Swim-a-Thon is a 50-state, 50-swim extreme charity swim by American open water swimmers and brothers Joseph Zemaitis and John Zemaitis from Arizona (also known as the Swim Brothers). The Ultimate Swim-a-Thon requires the completion of a marathon swim of at least 10 km in distance in all 50 states. The charity swim benefits USA Swimming Foundation.

  • Day 1 (20 July 2022), Swim 1: 10.2 km from Makaha Beach to Keawaula Beach on Oahu, Hawaii
  • Day 2 (21 July 21st), Swim 2: 10.33 km in Big Lake, City of Anchorage, State of Alaska
  • Day 3 (22 July 22nd), Swim 3: 10.41 km in Lake Tahoe, City of Reno, State of Nevada
  • Day 3 (22 July 22nd), Swim 4: 10.06 km in Lake Tahoe, State of California
  • Day 4 (23 July 23rd), Swim 5: 17.16 km in the Willamette River, Portland, State of Oregon
  • Day 4 (23 July 23rd), Swim 6: 10.32 km in Yale Lake, City of Yale, State of Washington
  • Day 5 (24 July 24th), Swim 7: 10.00 km in Coeur d’Alene, City of Coeur d’Alene, State of Idaho
  • Day 5 (24 July 24th), Swim 8: 10.43 km in Flathead Lake, City of Elmo, State of Montana
  • Day 6 (July 25th), Swim 9: 10.38 km in Lake de Smet, City of Sheridan, State of Wyoming
  • Day 6 (July 25th), Swim 10: 10.30 km in Belle Fourche Dam, State of South Dakota
  • Day 7 (July 26th), Swim 11: 10.35 km in Lake Ashtabula, Valley City, State of North Dakota
  • Postponed due to Lightning: Day 7 (July 26th), Swim 12: 10.08 km in Lake Minnewaska, Glenwood, State of Minnesota
  • Postponed: Day 7 (July 26th), Swim 13: 10.05 km in Spirit Lake, City of Spirit Lake, Iowa
  • Day 8 (July 27th), Re-do Swim 12: 10.08 km in Lake Minnewaska, Glenwood, Minnesota
  • Day 8 (July 27th), Re-do Swim 13: 10.05 km in Spirit Lake, City of Spirit Lake, Iowa
  • Day 9 (July 28th), Swim 14: 10.22 km in Lake Michigan, City of Kenosha, State of Wisconsin
  • Day 9 (July 28th), Swim 15: 11.97 km in Lake Michigan, City of Waukegan, State of Illinois
  • Day 10 (July 29th), Swim 16: 10.08 km in Lake Michigan, Michigan City, State of Indiana
  • Day 10 (July 29th), Swim 17: 10.21 km in Lake Michigan, New Buffalo, State of Michigan
  • Day 11 (July 30th), Swim 18: 10.12 km in Lake Erie, City of Conneaut, State of Ohio
  • Day 11 (July 30th), Swim 19: 10.24 km in Lake Erie, City of Erie, State of Pennsylvania
  • Postponed: Day 11 (July 30th), Swim 20: 10.24 km in Lake Erie, City of Westfield, State of New York
  • Day 12 (July 31st), Swim 20: 10.24 km in Lake Champlain, State of New York
  • Days 12/13 (July 31st/August 1st), Swim 21: 10.20 km in Lake Champlain, State of Vermont
  • Day 13 (August 1st), Swim 22: 10.13 km in Lake Winnipesaukee, State of New Hampshire
  • Day 13 (August 1st), Swim 23: 10.08 km in Lake Sebago, City of South Casco, State of Maine
  • Day 14 (August 2nd), Swim 24: 10.16 km in Narragansett Bay, State of Rhode Island
  • Day 14 (August 2nd), Swim 25: 10.04 km in Buzzards Bay, Pocasset, State of Massachusetts
  • Day 14 (August 2nd), Swim 26: 10.08 km in Long Island Sound, Norwalk, State of Connecticut
  • Day 15 (August 3rd), Swim 27: 10.06 km in Silver Bay, City of Toms River, State of New Jersey
  • Day 15 (August 3rd), Swim 28: 10.18 km in Rehoboth Bay, Rehoboth Bay, State of Delaware
  • Day 16 (August 4th), Swim 29: 11.12 km in Eastern Bay, City of Stevensville, State of Maryland
  • Day 16 (August 4th), Swim 30: 10.46 km in Summersville Lake, State of West Virginia
  • Day 17 (August 5th), Swim 31: 10.62 km in Lake Wylie, Charlotte, State of South Carolina
  • Day 17 (August 5th), Swim 32: 10.43 km in Lake Norman, Denver, State of North Carolina
  • Day 18 (August 6th), Swim 33: 10.22 km in South Holston Lake, Bristol, State of Virginia
  • Day 18 (August 6th), Swim 34: 10.64 km in South Holston Lake, City of Bristol, Tennessee
  • Day 18 (August 6th), Swim 35: 10.44 km in Laurel River Lake, Morehead, State of Kentucky
  • Day 19 (August 7th), Swim 36: 10.62 km in Lake Burton, City of Clayton, State of Georgia
  • Day 19 (August 7th), Swim 37: 10.22 km in Lake Guntersville, Guntersville, State of Alabama
  • Day 20 (August 8th), Swim 38: 10.14 km in Choctawhatchee Bay, Destin, State of Florida
  • Day 20 (August 8th), Swim 39: 10.14 km in Bay St. Louis, Bay St. Louis, State of Mississippi
  • Day 21 (August 9th), Swim 40: 10.48 km in Toledo Bend Reservoir, Florein, Louisiana
  • Day 21 (August 9th), Swim 41: 10.16 km in Toledo Bend Reservoir, Fairmont, State of Texas
  • Day 21 (August 9th), Swim 42: 10.14 km in Broken Bow Lake, Broken Law, State of Oklahoma
  • Day 22 (August 10th), Swim 43: 10.26 km in Beaver Lake, Bentonville, State of Arkansas
  • Day 22 (August 10th), Swim 44: 10.58 km in Table Rock Lake, Branson, State of Missouri
  • Day 23 (August 11th), Swim 45: 10.09 km in Wilson Lake, City of Russell, State of Kansas
  • Day 23 (August 11th), Swim 46: 10.62 km in Harlan County Lake, Alma, State of Nebraska
  • Day 24 (August 12th), Swim 47: 10.30 km in Navajo Reservoir], Rio Arriba County, New Mexico
  • Day 24 (August 12th), Swim 48: 10.00 km in McPhee Reservoir, Fort Collins, Colorado
  • Day 25 (August 13th), Swim 49: 10.13 km in Lake Powell, Wahweap, State of Utah
  • Day 25 (August 13th), Swim 50: 10.38 km in Lake Powell, State of Arizona

English Channel Crossing

2021 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year Nomination

He was nominated for the 2021 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year Award by the World Open Water Swimming Association. The winners and nominees include:

Winner: Paul Georgescu (Romania)
First Runner-up: Neil Agius (Malta)
Second Runner-up: Joel Matos Ortiz (Puerto Rico)
4. Josef Köberl (Austria)
5. Dr. Jaiprakash Duble (India)
6. Pablo Fernández Álvarez (Spain)
7. Stève “Seal” Stievenart (France)
8. Simon Griffiths (Great Britain)
9. Bogusław Ogrodnik (Poland)
10. Joseph Zemaitis (USA)
11. Damián Blaum (Argentina)
12. Florian Wellbrock (Germany)
13. Stéphane Lecat (France)
14. Kristóf Rasovszky (Hungary)
15. Andre Slade (Australia)

External links