On Sunday, April 8, 200 7, 52-year old Martin Strel completed the first-ever swim of the 3,274-mile-long Amazon River. The Fish Man, as he was called by locals, almost died in the process several times; he encountered deadly piranha, crocodiles, anaconda, river sharks, blistering, relentless sun, dangerous currents, river pirates and drug runners, and the insidious candiru. At the finish his blood pressure was at heart attack level, his entire body full of subcutaneous larvae, and besieged by dehydration, diarrhea, and exhaustion. Strel, who holds multiple Guinness world records for long-distance river swims, undertook this epic Amazon swim to call attention to deforestation and river pollution. His journey was covered by national media around the world, and followed by tens of millions of readers on a website tracking his progress (www.amazonswim.com). A documentary film of his journey will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in 2008.Drawn from the eloquent and evocative trip diaries of writer Matthew Mohlke, who guided Strel armed with buckets of blood to divert piranha, The Man Who Swam the Amazon is a gripping and inspirational story of perseverance, passion, and endurance: A real-life odyssey of a rare and driven man.
Martin Strel is one of the most elite athletes in history. He holds three Guinness world records in distance swimming, and is about to earn his fourth for his Amazon swim.Matthew Mohlke is author of Floating Down the Country, an account of his Mississippi River paddling adventures.