There are two Spanish open water swimming stars who are up for nomination for the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame's class of 2009.
David Meca is an outstanding open water swimmer with a prolific and varied track record of success in nearly every type of swimming. David Meca was not only the 1998, 2000 and 2005 world marathon swimming champion and a scholarship athlete at USC, but he also won 25 FINA World Cup races and was ranked number one in the 1998, 1999, 2001 and 2003 FINA World Cup circuit.
David was tirelessly competitive throughout his professional marathon swimming career, winning numerous races in his native Spain as well as in Macedonia, Egypt, Italy, Argentina, Brazil, USA, Finland, U.K., Croatia and Canada.
At the 2000 World Open Water Swimming Championships in Honolulu, David won a gold in the 25K and a silver in the 5K and 10K to single-handedly lead Spain to a silver-medal team finish – he was Spain’s only swimmer!
In an impressive body of solo swimming work, David swam 110K (68.3 miles) from Tenerife Island to Gran Canaria Island in 23 hours and 5minutes in 2002 and 130K (80.7 miles) from the Spanish mainland to Ibiza Island in 26 hours and 30 minutes in 2006. He broke the Strait of Gibraltar record by more than 40 minutes with a 2 hour 29 minute crossing in 1999 and did a 14 hour 5 minute triple crossing of the Strait of Gibraltar in 2008. He also swam fromGomera Island to Tenerife Island in the Canary Islands in 8 hours and swam the English Channel twice, in 7 hours 40 minutes in 2004 and 7 hours and 22 minutes in 2005, and swam 100K (62 miles) up the Guadalquivir River in Spain (against the current) in 2007.
Maria Louisa Canañberos Sanchez de Leon is also a very strong candidate from Spain. Maria holds the women’s one-way record for the Strait of Gibraltar in 3:56:58 and completed numerous marathon swims in Croatia, Spain and Italy. She was also the European champion in the 5K in 1989, did a double-crossing of the Strait of Gibraltar in 10:58:56 and once swam 82,575 meters over a 24-hour period in a pool in Spain in 1993. She also placed at several professional marathon swims, including the Santa Fe-Coronda race in Argentina, the Rivera de Alassio in Italy, Sylvan Lake in Alberta, Canada, the 88K Maraton Acuatica Hernandarias - Parana race in Argentina, the Traversee Internationale du Lac Magog in Canada, the Atlantic City Around the Island Swim, the Lake Ohrid Marathon Swim in Macedonia, Mar del Plata in Argentina, Tapes in Brazil and Sumidero Canyon in Mexico.
David and Maria are a remarkable Spanish duo who both represent the best of open water swimming, with world-class swimming, a sense of solo swimming adventure and a desire to travel the world conquering myriad bodies of water.
All photos from the David Meca website.