91 Circumnavigations Down, 9 To Go

91 Circumnavigations Down, 9 To Go

Courtesy of Bill Welzien, Key West, Florida.

The local Ripley’s Believe It or Not! museum in Key West, Florida is interested in making a display about Bill Welzien‘s marathon swimming career.

Welzien is closing in on history’s longest Century Swim, only 9 marathon swims away from his 100th open water swim in the same venue: the most southern point of the state of Florida.

The 66-year-old’s chosen venue is the 12.5-mile (20.1 km) circumnavigation swims around Key West in southern Florida, although he has also completed two Sea of Galilee crossings in Israel (double width swim in 2015 + single lengthwise swim in 2009).

His 90th Key West circumnavigation was completed on June 24th at the Swim Around Key West. A little over two weeks later on July 11th, he found himself on Smathers Beach a few hours before high tide in Key West Harbor.

Escorted by kayaker Doug Weeks and lathered in SPF 50 SolRx sun block, he took off with the water temperature at 87.5°F (30.8°F) and air temperature that would reach 90°F (32°C). “We started at 8:40 am. I felt free of kinks and cramps. My first mile was a 31:10. The fastest mile was in the Key West Harbor, the 4th mile at 22:51. My slowest mile was mile #6 at 38:02. I love so much being able to look back and see each mile split.

We had the wind hitting us on our right side from miles 5 to 6. From miles 7-8.5, we had a head wind. By the time I returned to the start/finish pole, I had clocked 6 hours 14 minutes 19 seconds.

I felt good after the swim; in fact, very energetic, then ate, and was off for our church’s evening prayer meeting and to our 90-minute Bible study. I am now in the single digit zone to reaching my goal of 100 swims by the end of this year. Nine more swims [with] the next swim scheduled for July 24th

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