World’s Strongest Endurance Swimmer, Walter Poenisch

World’s Strongest Endurance Swimmer, Walter Poenisch

Courtesy of Fayette Poenisch, International Federation of Professional Ocean Swimmers and Divers.

While Walter Poenisch was recently inducted in the International Swimming Hall of Fame for his marathon swimming achievements including his 90.75-mile (146 km) swim in 1972 (Swim of the Century), his 122.5-mile (197.1 km) swim in 1976 (Bicentennial Swim), and the 128.8-mile (207.2 km) swim across the Straits of Florida from Cuba to Florida in 1978 (Swim for Peace) at the age of 65, he was also known for additional feats.

At the age of 4, he swam across Buckeye Lake in Ohio and later advocated weight training as part of a marathon swimmer’s training regimen. In 1969, he was awarded the title of World’s Strongest Endurance Swimmer by the World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation after towing two rowboats containing several people for 3.5 miles in Columbus, Ohio.

In 1970, he towed a 30-ton, 47-foot river boat for 200 feet against the current of the Miami River, Florida at the age of 57. In 1971, he pulled a 15-ton steamboat 1.5 miles in Gull Lake, Michigan and regularly did boat pulling training swims [see videos above].

Other well-known boat pulling swimmers in history include Jack LaLanne, Jim Dreyer, and Nejib Belhedi – all strong advocates of healthy lifestyles.

Information on Poenisch’ induction is posted here.

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Steven Munatones