Courtesy of International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame and WOWSA with Martina Grimaldi in Cozumel, Mexico.

One of the most appreciated compliments received by any athlete is from one’s own peers.

The Class of 2018 honorees in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame represent the largest group of individuals to be inducted in a single year over the institution’s history.

Each one of this year’s inductees are not only remarkable athletes who have completed incredible feats in the open water, but they are also exceptional humans who lead inspirational lives on dryland. Some have achieved greatness in competitive events, some in solo channel crossings, some in unprecedented marathon swims. While their greatest swims are publicly well-known, it is the relentless dedication and numerous hours they put in hard, solitary training year after year that enable them to complete their swims in lakes, river, seas and oceans around the world.

The honorees are selected annually by a vote of their peers who include Nick Adams, Tamara Bruce, Penny Dean, Yuko Matsuzaki, David O’Brien, Skip Storch, Valerio Valli, Forrest Nelson, David Barra, Dr. Osama Ahmed Momtaz, Michael P. Read, MBE, Peter Bales, Elizabeth Fry, Marcella MacDonald, DPM, Captain Tim Johnson, Vojislav Mijić, Ricardo Ratto, Dr. Jane Katz, Valerie Parsons, Lynn Blouin, Kathrin Lammers, Sally Minty-Gravett, MBE, Evan Morrison, Philip Rush, Dan Simonelli, Ben Barham, Penny Palfrey, Carol Sing, Natalya Pankina, Petar Stoychev, Silvia Dalotto, Stéphane Lecat, Kevin Murphy, Greg Streppel, Peter van Vooren, Jacques Tuset, Attila Mányoki, and John York.

The Class of 2018 includes one of the world’s most versatile and prolific competitive marathon swimmers, Martina Grimaldi of Italy who won a bronze medal in the 10 km at the 2012 London Olympic Games, gold medals in the 25 km at the 2013 FINA World Championships in Barcelona and in the 10 km at the 2010 FINA World Open Water Swimming Championships in Canada, a silver medal in the 10 km in 2011 FINA World Championships in Shanghai, and a bronze medal in the 10 km at the 2009 FINA World Championships in Rome besides numerous victories on the FINA 10K Marathon Swimming World Cup and FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix circuits over an 11-year span.

She won FINA professional marathon races in Brazil, Mexico Canada, Macedonia, Italy and Argentina including being a two-time European champion in the 10 km (2011 and 2012) and two times in the 25 km (2014 and 2016).

She discussed her career in her native Italian [along with the translated English]:

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: How does it feel to be inducted in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame?

Martina Grimaldi: E’ una sensazione fantistastica. Sono onoratissima e molto emozionata di essere stata nominata per International Marathon Swimmer Hall of Fame. [It’s a fantastic feeling. I am honored and very excited to be named for the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame.]

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What was the most satisfying swim of your career?

Martina Grimaldi: La gara che mi ha dato più soddisfazione e’ stata la 10 km ai World Championship 2011 in Shanghai. [The race that gave me the most satisfaction was the 10 km at the 2011 FINA World Championships in Shanghai.]

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What was the toughest swim of your career?

Martina Grimaldi: Per la stanchezza direi la 25 km ai world Championship Roma 2009. Per la tensione direi la 25 km European Championship Hoorn 2016. [For fatigue, I would say the 25 km at the 2009 FINA World Championships. For stress, I would say the 25 km 2016 European Championship in Hoorn.]

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What was your most memorable swim or race of your career?

Martina Grimaldi: La mia gara più memorabile sicuramente la 10 a Londra per Olympic Games…dove ho conquistato il bronzo. [My most memorable race was the 10 km in London at the Olympic Games…where I won the bronze medal.]

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Can you describe your typical mid-season weekly schedule, including your swimming workouts and dryland training?

Martina Grimaldi: Durante la settimana faccio 10 allenamenti in acqua di circa 2ore e mezzo l’uno e circa 2o3 sedute di palestra posizionate di solito dopo l’allenamento del mattino
Quindi una giornata tipo sarà più o meno così. Sveglia 6e45, Colazione, 8:00-8:25 stretching, 8:30-11:00 allenamento in piscina, 11:30-12:30 Palestra, 12e40 pranzo, 14:00-14:25 stretching, 14:30-17:00 allenamento in piscina, 20 cena, 22 a letto.

[During the week, I do 10 water training sessions of about 2½ hours per session and 2-3 gym sessions usually located after the morning workout. My typical day is more or less the same: Wake at 6:45 am, breakfast, 8:00-8:25 am stretching, 8:30-11:00 pool workout, 11:30 am-12:30 pm gym workout, 12:40 pm lunch, 2:00-2:25 pm stretching, 2:30-5:00 pm pool workout, 8 pm dinner, 10 pm bed.]

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What are some of the most beautiful beaches where you have swum?

Martina Grimaldi: E’ sicuramente una bellissima squadra, un gruppo molto unito che cerca di scherzare e divertirsi il più possibile prima e dopo le gare. [The Italian team is definitely a beautiful team; it is a very united team trying to play and have fun as much as possible before and after races.]

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Who were your coaches during your careers?

Martina Grimaldi: Per molti anni e’ stato Fabio Cuzzani fino ad aprile 2015. Da aprile ad agosto 2015 Matteo Cortesi. E nel 2016 e 2017 Emanuele Sacchi. [For many years, it was Fabio Cuzzani until April 2015. From April to August 2015, it was Matteo Cortesi, and in 2016 and 2017, it was Emanuele Sacchi.]

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What are your favorite foods and drinks during your marathon races?

Martina Grimaldi: Durante le gare uso più sali e maltodestrine e cheerpak di Syform. Però la mattina prima della gara difficilmente rinuncio alla Nutella. [During the races, I use more salt and Maltodextrin, but in the morning before the race, I rarely give up on Nutella.]

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What future plans in the water do you have?

Martina Grimaldi: Per ora non ho obiettivi anno per anno decido cosa fare in questi anni mi sono tolta molte soddisfazioni finché mi divertirò,continuerò a nuotare. [For now, I have no goals year after year. I decide what to do in these years. I am satisfied as long as I am enjoying the sport and will continue to swim.]

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What kinds of things do you think about during your marathon swims?

Martina Grimaldi: Durante una gara devo dire che sono molto concentrata sulla gara perché devo stare attenta a molti fattori correnti onde possibili fughe da parte di qualche avversaria. [During a race, I have to say that I am very focused on the race itself because I have to be attentive to many current factors so another swimmer can escape from the pack.]

Martina is a threat to win every race that she enters, from 1 km to 25 km in both domestic and international races. She was on the podium 24 times out of the 53 times she has raced to date. The two-time Olympian is literally always in the lead pack and can race with anyone and everyone in all conditions – warm or cold, calm or rough, salt or fresh,” said Steven Munatones. “She is tactical and she is blazing fast and has been a stalwart on the national Italian team for over a decade. It is rare for an open water swimmer to be given a national honor like Martina was with her Cavaliere della Repubblica, Knighthood in the Kingdom of Italy.”

Martina and the other new members of the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame emulate those exceptional 269 forerunners already enshrined in the Hall of Fame. Since the class of 1963, our marathon swimming inductees from around the world have received the ultimate marathon swimming recognition. They have been immortalized with their names inscribed on the IMSHOF Sea Goddess, our ‘symbol of the sea’,” explained Chairman Christopher Guesdon.

When Captain Matthew Webb RN conquered the English Channel in 1875 nobody would have thought such a worldwide movement of marathon swimming would be born and where ethics and morals are paramount in pursuit of a successful marathon. The induction ceremony will be held on March 31st 2018 at The Chapel, Beaumont Estate, Old Windsor, UK.”

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