Alfredo Camarero, 1931 – 2012

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Alfredo Camarero of Argentina was inducted as an Honour Swimmer in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame in 1978.

Camarero was the first of many great Argentine professional marathon swimmers who won the most prestigious and competitive open water races in the mid- to late 1950s: the Maratona del Golfo Capri-Napoli (1955 and 1956), Billy Butlin Cross Channel International Swim in 1959 and 1960, and the Atlantic City Around The Island Swim in 1957.

The Rosario native died in 2012 at the age 82 in Buenos Aires. He began swimming at 5 and his competitive swimming career at the age of 8. He rose to national level in the pool, but always had a passion for the open water. In 1949, he was invited to compete in a race in Rosario. Afterwards he said, “I was swimming in open water and I knew that was my calling.”

After winning the Argentine championship three years in a row (1951, 1952 and 1953), he was invited to compete in Maratona del Golfo Capri-Napoli in 1954 which was the de facto marathon swimming world championship.

In his first race, he finished third even though he had to train for 20 days in a small pool on the boat across the Atlantic Ocean, barely arriving in Napoli close to the start of the race.

In the 1955 race, he won the race beating the favored Egyptians in 8 hours 45 minutes. He defended his title in 1956. The next year, he went head-to-head with Tom Park in the 1957 Atlantic City race. In 1958, he uncharacteristically abandoned the race across the English Channel, but then came back in 1959 and 1960 to win.

He later was named an Honorary Citizen of Capri, a recognition he shared with Ernest Hemingway and Charlie Chaplin.

For more information on his life and legacy, visit here.

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