Monday, August 25, 2008

International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame 2008 Class

The International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame also welcomed Vicko Soljan of Croatia as an administrator to its Class of 2008:

For almost 60 years, Soljan has promoted swimming, water polo and long distance swimming. At age 17 in 1951, Vicko founded the Faros Water Polo Club and Faros Swimming Club, leading the club to multiple Croatian championships. In 1976, he founded the Faros Long Distance Swim Club, leading it to multiple marathon swimming championships in Yugoslavia and Croatia. He was also the founder and president of the Croation Long Distance Swimming Federation (1980-present) and founder of the first LEN Open Water Swimming Championships and coached Croatia to 6 European Championships and 4 World Championships.

In 1976, he founded the popular 16K Faros Marathon Swim in Stari Grad Bay, the oldest town in Croatia. For 31 years, 925 swimmers from 36 different countries competed in the Faros Marathon. Very importantly from a historical and humanistic point of view, the swim was the only international event to continue through the 1991-1992 war, becoming the first international sports competition in the newly independent Croatia.

Soljan has organized 11 long distance swimming exhibitions and has written about the subject for various newspapers for the past 58 years. He is the author of the book Stari Grad – European Centre of Long Distance Swimming. He has received over 23 important awards for service from FINA, LEN (Ligue EuropĂ©enne de Natation), the International Olympic Committee and the government of Croatia.

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