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Martin Strel looks like your typical middle-aged bloke. He likes a laugh, a drink and the sight of a pretty woman. But put him in water and he turns into a swimming machine.In April 2007, after 66 days, he became the first person to swim the Amazon, 3,272 miles from the Peruvian Andes to the Atlantic shores of Brazil. On this extraordinary journey he dodged piranhas, sharks and river pirates, met indigeus tribes who either revered him as a god or chased him with machetes, and swam from dawn to dusk for 60 miles every single day. Like pioneers before him who first climbed Everest or explored the poles, Martin shifted the limits of human capability.His story - of endurance, of determination, of dehydration and exhaustion, of illness and blood pressure that reached heart-attack levels - is an inspiration to people everywhere.
Born in Slovenia, adventurer Martin Strel is the holder of four Guinness World Records in long distance swimming, and was the first to swim from Africa to Europe in 1997, the first to swim the Danube from source to estuary in 2000 and, the first to swim the entire Mississippi in 2002. He swims to promote peace, friendship and clean waters. Writer Matthew Mohlke from Minnesota, USA, has paddled the length of the Mississippi twice and was a river guide on Martin's Amazon team.