Herman Willemse Describes How Swimming Changed His Life

International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame chairman Ned Denison interviewed fellow Hall of Famer Herman Willemse on today’s edition of WOWSA Live.

In his WOWSA Live interview, the 86-year-old Dutch superstar – one of the most renowned marathon swimmers in the world and member of the inaugural class of Honor Swimmers in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame who was nicknamed the Flying Dutchman – talked about:

  • swimming amateur and becoming a 13-time Dutch champion in 100m, 400m and 1500m freestyle
  • getting second in the 1959 Billy Butlin Cross Channel International Swim and losing 12 pounds in his first professional marathon swim
  • training in the Amsterdam-Rijnkanaal canal because there was no indoor pools in his hometown
  • learning about an American powder drink and realizing that he was burning fat
  • winning both the 1961 and 1962 Canadian National Exhibition races
  • winning the Traversée Internationale du lac St-Jean in 1961, 1962 and 1963
  • winning the 1963 Maratón Acuática Internacional Santa Fe – Coronda where he traveled to Argentina on a freighter ship while training in a 5-meter pool on the deck over a 3-week period
  • winning the 36 Atlantic City Around-the-Island Marathon Swim five times between 1960 and 1964
  • sharing feeding tips with fellow professional marathon swimmers
  • rooming with Argentine marathon swimmer Carlos Larriera
  • remembering Joe Grossman and his groundbreaking work for the World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation
  • teaming with Regent Lacoursiere to win the 1965 and 1966 24 Heures La Tuque races
  • swimming with Judith van Berkel-de Nijs in the 24 Heures La Tuque
  • coaching and traveling with Olympian Johan Schans to Traversée internationale du Lac St-Jean and the America’s Marathon Swim
  • finally quitting marathon swimming and then sailing around the world
  • traveling and coaching with Edith van Dijk at the Maratón Acuática Internacional Santa Fe – Coronda in Argentina
  • winning the Dale Petranech Award
  • enjoying swimming in the lead or negative-splitting in races as opposed to pack swimming that was preferred by swimmers like Tom Park and Cliff Lumsdon
  • earning much more as a professional swimmer than working as a schoolteacher
  • writing his 560-page memoir in Vrije slag

Bekijk het complete interview @WOWSA