Is Petar Stoychev the Greatest Open Water Swimmer in History?

Is Petar Stoychev the Greatest Open Water Swimmer in History?

Is Petar Stoychev the greatest open water swimmer in history?

He very well may be. We certainly think so.

The multilinguist certainly checks off all the boxes among the swimmers at the highest echelon in every discipline within the open water swimming world – and has demonstrated his talents in water ranging from -1°C to 32°C. No one else in the open water swimming world has his range, his speed, his experience, and his achievements.

  1. He is a 4-time pool swimming Olympian.
  2. He is a 2-time marathon swimming Olympian.
  3. He set a record across the English Channel, the first person to swim under 7 hours.
  4. He has won short open water races.
  5. He has won a FINA World Championship, a 25 km race in Shanghai, China in the warmest conditions ever recorded for a FINA competition: over 32°C (89.6°F).
  6. He dominated the professional marathon swimming circuit for 11 long years with an unprecedented streak of victories in numerous world-class races.
  7. He has dominated the ice swimming world, setting world records in the Ice Kilometer and known as the King of the Ice.
  8. He completed the Antarctica Ice Kilometer Swim in Mikkelsen Bay in the Southern Ocean along the Antarctic Peninsula.
  9. He has completed an Ice Kilometer within the Polar Circle in Norway (see photos below).
  10. He served as the Minister of Sport in his native Bulgaria.
  11. He served as the flagbearer for his country at the Summer Olympics.
  12. He has a beer named after him: La Stoychev crafted by Microbrasserie du Lac Saint-Jean in St-Gédéon, Québec, Canada as a tribute to his 11 victories in the 42 km Traversée Internationale du lac St-Jean in Canada.
  13. He serves as an International Ice Swimming Association official.
  14. He is a dual inductee: an Honor Swimmer in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame, Class of 2008, and an Honor Open Water Swimmer in the International Swimming Hall of Fame, Class of 2018.

Stoychev said yesterday in Longierbien, Swalbard in in Norway’s Svalbard archipelago, “In -1°C (30.2°F) water and -13°C (8.6°F)  air, I managed to fulfill another dream of racing in the North Pole Aquarium. After this achievement, I can declare that I swam in all the oceans. Thank you to everyone who believed in me and stood by me.”

For a history of Stoychev’s achievements, visit here.

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Steven Munatones