Martin Strel swimming Mississippi

Martin Strel Swimming the Mississippi River

Swimming the length of big rivers is not something you read about very often. The reason is pretty simple, not many people do it.

Our founder and long distance swimmer Martin Strel was the first person who swam the entire length of the Mississippi river in North America. During July 04 – September 09, 2002 Martin was swimming for 68 days in a row from northern Minnesota all the way to the Gulf of Mexico in Louisiana. The project was entitled Eye to Eye and Martin particularly reached out to the American public by stating that he lays his historic swim on the altar of remembrance of the victims of September 11. He has also received a Guinness World Record certificate for this achievement.

But Martin is no longer the only person who has completed the Mississippi river swim. During June 06 – December 04, 2015, former American Navy Seal, Chris Ring completed the entire river swim in honor to the families of fallen American servicemen and servicewomen. A non-profit organization, Legacies Alive, raise awareness through completing extreme physical and mental challenges and this was their next challenge.

Ring, 28, entered the river on June 6 in Lake Itasca in Minnesota and averaged 15 miles a day, swimming six days a week for six to eight hours over 181 days to reach the Gulf of Mexico in Louisiana. The swim took him across 10 states in America. He was accompanied by his close family and other members of Legacies Alive.

Back in November 2014 Chris Ring´s team contacted us  – Martin Strel´s team with the following message below and we helped them to prepare for the long journey.

Dear Martin Strel Team,

My name is DJ Faldowski and I am part of a non-profit organization, Legacies Alive, that supports the families of fallen US servicemen and servicewomen. We raise awareness through completing extreme physical and mental challenges, and our next challenge is to swim the Mississippi River.

As you know, Martin is the only person (at least that we are aware of) to have successfully swam the Mississippi River and we want to know if your team could help guide us as we attempt this incredible endeavor. I want to say this up front, that our athlete is NOT trying to break, or even come close to breaking, Martin´s record. Our goal is to finish the swim in approximately 6 months. However, very little resources exist that could help us not only to complete the swim, but also to ensure the utmost safety of our swimmer.

If your team is willing to help or wants additional information, please let me know. We could set up a conference call or Skype.

I invite you to visit our website at to find out more about our organization. Currently, we are sponsoring our co-founder, Mike Viti, as he completes his challenge of walking one kilometer for every US service member killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. That is approximately 7,100 km!

We are very passionate about helping the families of our fallen heroes and your expertise would benefit these families greatly.


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