Marcos Diaz, an islander who swims between continents
On August 8th 2005, Marcos Diaz, an open-water extreme swimmer, set a new world record. He crossed the Strait of Gibraltar back and forth in 8 hours and 31 minutes which is 1 hour and 28 minutes less than the best record at the time for the same distance. His achievement is even more astounding given the fact that the Dominican swimmer applied a very risky strategy. Diaz started through the least challenging route (from Spain to Morocco), leaving for last the part where the swimmer is more vulnerable to the Strait’s currents (from Morocco to Spain). This had never been done before and only three more people had crossed the Strait back and forth.
However, this accomplishment was not an accident. Marcos is a living example of what permanent effort and dedication to self improvement in any task can achieve. A vital constant in him has been not settling with what he has accomplished but setting greater challenges for himself. His career proves it.
He was born on January 12, 1975 in Santo Domingo. The asthma crisis he has to suffer as a child persuades his parents to take him to swimming lessons at age 6. Soon, the kid doesn’t only overcome his condition, but also starts a career that has become the axis of his life. From being part of the Casa España Club swimming team at age 6 and being part of the national swimming league in several international competitions, to becoming who he is today: one of the first open-water extreme swimmer worldwide. Thus, he has earned the recognition and respect of Dominican people.
Marcos Diaz holds a management degree as well as master’s degree in marketing from the Instituto Tecnológico de Santo Domingo (INTEC). The foundation that has his name has created a scholarship program to favor education of young swimmers of low economic resources and high academic achievements.
In September 2005 he was named Goodwill Ambassador by the President of the Dominican Republic.
Marcos Díaz Website: http://www.marcosdiaz.net/final/marcos.html
15 hours and 27 seconds
National Record distance crossed in a pool
New York / “Ken Killian’s Ocean Mile Swim 1999”
1 nautical mile
1st place. More than 200 contestants
Florida / LatyCar’99 (Latin-American Master Swimming Championship)
5 medals in pool swim; 3rd place in his category; 6th place in open water swimming
9 hours and 17 minutes
National and International record in open water swimming
Florida / 24 miles Tampa Bay Marathon Swim 2002
9 hours and 03 minutes
3rd place in general; 1st place in his category
Hawaii / Waikiki Rough Water Swim 2002
2nd place in his category
14 hours and 50 minutes
Sets a new record in extreme pool spinning
4 hours, 16 minutes and 40 seconds
Sets new record
Florida / “24 miles Tampa Bay Marathon Swim 2004”
9 hours and 28 minutes
2nd place in general; 1st place in his category
New York / “Manhattan Island Marathon Swim 2004”
Managed to finish in 7th place with a severe hypothermia crisis
Halkidiki – Nikiti, Greece/ “34th International Swimming Crossing of the Toroneos Gulf”
Absolute Champion. First Latinamerican ever winning this championship in 34 years.
Canal de la Mancha / “The English Channel”
9 hours, 56 minutes and 33 seconds
First Domincan swimmer ever crossing the English Channel
Dubai / FINA Open Water World Championship 2004”
First Domincan participating
Samaná Bay / First Marathon Swim
3 hours and 50 minutes
1st place; New record
Santo Domingo / First Pan American Championship of the Amateur Swimming Union of the Americas / Masters
400 free mts.
4 minutes and 44 seconds
Record in his Category
Halkidiki – Nikiti, Greece / “35th International Swimming Crossing of the Toroneos Gulf”
6 hours and 30 minutes
First absolute place
Strait of Gibraltar
22 Kms. Aprox., equivalent to 44 Kms in calmed water
8 hours 31 minutes