As most of you probably know, Dave VM traveled all the way to Sweden to take on a new marathon swim that no one else has done before. He swam ~32km across lake Siljian. While over there he has gotten some local media coverage. Dave emailed me some of the articles and since I happen to speak Swedish for some reason I went ahead and did a quick translation so that you guys can read what they're saying in the magical land of Sweden about our friend Dave :) - Rob D.
American shall clear 33 km today.
DAVE SHALL SWIM ACROSS SILJIAN
From the USA through Germany and Vansbro to Siljian, today Dave Van Mouwerik shall swim roughly three "miles" (a Swedish mile is 10km).
Dave says that "I usually swim one marathon swim a year."
When Dave VM from San Luis Obispo in California was 20 years old he studied in Germany. There he became friends with some Germans who asked if he wanted to follow them to Sweden and celebrate Christmas with them. That was in 1977, and he answered yes.
While in Sweden they came to the Hellgren family in Vansbro and ever since the Hellgrens and Dave have been friends.
"We met the Germans first but now we have more contact with Dave than with them" explained Birger Hellgren.
Now Dave is on vacation in Sweden and today, Friday, he shall swim across Siljian.
"I have always swam a lot and when I was 23 I felt that I wanted to start competitive swimming. Since then I have been involved with many teams and competed many times" said Dave.
The competitions he has taken part in are long distance swims, or marathon swims as they are also called.
"A marathon swim is different in that there's no determined distance, it's different from competition to competition. It can for example be to swim across the English Channel, or from Ireland to Great Brittan. It can be ultimately be whatever you want and one typically does it alone" explained Dave.
Last year Dave thought that he'd like to combine a visit to Sweden with a long distance swim.
A route starting in Hjortnas and finishing in Tingnasbadet in Mora makes for a 33km route.
"We have looked at Google Maps and made up a course in advance with points through which I shall swim."
Coming along with Dave will be two canoeists (assuming kayakers) to ensure that everything goes well for him.
The swim will take approximately 12 hours and Dave plans to start 3:30am Friday morning. While under way a motorboat shall follow along with food for Dave, but a rule in marathon swimming say that the swimmer may not rest themselves on the boat while eating.
"I may not have equipment that protects against cold, no wetsuit or cap that is made out of neoprene" said Dave.
The Distance Dave shall swim, he has done before but it was in the ocean.
"One is more stressed when in the ocean because of all the animals that are found there. But one can be as scared of sharks and man eaters they want, it's the waves that are the worst" said Dave VM.
"Great that it's over"
Soon after 3pm on Friday Dave VM took the last swim strokes into the beach at Tingnasbaden in Mora. He had swum over 3 Swedish miles (30km+) in around 12 hours.
Dave held smooth swim stroke pace, around 60 per minute, during the 32.7km from Hjortnas to Mora.
Despite the tough challenge he was in a good mood when he swam to land in Tingnasbadet.
"I feel good and am glad that it's over and I finished it. There's a lot that can go wrong when you swim. We had luck with the weather, it was warm and the wind calm." said Dave.
The first steps out of the water were a little rigid. However after a transition Dave could both stand and walk after the marathon swim.
"I'm a little stiff now and will come to have pain in my body for a couple days, but it will pass" said Dave.
His marathon in Siljian wasn't over until he came up out of the water. Since winter he has looked at a picture of a lifebuoy that hangs at the beach. The picture has helped him focus on the goal for the big challenge. A short walk up to the buoy and a steady grip on it was the conclusion to Dave's half day in Siljian.
Dave talks humbly of the performance.
He means that the whole thing is a group event and that one needs luck with nature to succeed.
"I would have never finished this on Tuesday, it was blowing too hard and was too cold. I had a fantastic group of people around me who hae supported me the whole way" explained Dave.
This 55 year old swimmer has trained as a long distance swimmer since his 20's.
To hold himself in this form he swims about 100 swedish miles (1000km) per year.
And Dave still has some marathons to swim.
"I have maybe 5 or 6 challenges left in me. The next time I'm thinking about swimming between Santa Cruz Island and California."