Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Herman Willemse was selected as the second recipient of the Dale Petranech Award for Services to the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame.

The Flying Dutchman, as he was known at his peak, will be presented with the honor and award at the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Induction/Award ceremony in Old Windsor in the United Kingdom on March 31st.

In addition to his numerous victories on the professional marathon swimming circuit, he served admirably well and long as the President of the World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation during the 1960s.

Ned Denison, Chairman of the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame, explains the reasoning behind his selection. “He assisted the ground work to establish the IMSHOF in 1967. When classes were named starting in 1963, Herman was included in the first class. He is ranked as one of the most dominant swimmers of his generation.

His victories included:
• 30 km Traversée Internationale du lac St-Jean in Canada in 10 hours 7 minutes in 1961, in 9 hours 3 minutes in 1962 and in 8 hours 32 minutes in 1963
• 36 km Around-the-Island Marathon Swim in Atlantic City, USA five times from 1960 to 1964
• 24 km Canadian National Exhibition race in 1961 and 1962
• 12.5 km Northumberland Strait race in 1964
• 37 km la Descente ou remontée du Saguenay in 6 hours 15 minutes in 1966
• 16 km Tois Riviere Swims in 1961 to 1963 in Canada
• 45 km Mar del Plato race in Argentina
• 42 km race in the Suez Canal in Egypt
• 88 km Maratón Internacional Hernandarias – Parana in Argentina
• 32 km Maratona del Golfo Capri-Napoli in Italy
• 13-time Dutch national championships
• 58 km Maratón Acuática Internacional Santa Fe – Coronda in Argentina victory in 1963 with two 3rd-place finishes in 1964 and 1966
• Second at the 1959 Billy Butlin Cross Channel International Swim in 12 hours 49 minutes [shown above on right with goggles on]
• World male champion of the World Professional Marathon Swimmers Federation in 1963 and second to Egypt’s Abou-Heif for the next three consecutive years

Upon his retirement as a marathon swimmer, he coached Johannes Schans for two years culminating in his becoming the male champion of the World Professional Marathon Swimmers Federation in 1963.

This award was created in 2016 to honor Dale Petranech for decades of service to the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame. Petranech is a dual inductee in both the IMSHOF and the International Swimming Hall of Fame as an Honor Contributor. As a marathon swimmer, Petranech previously held the record as the oldest solo swimmer across the Catalina Channel and has serve for nearly 50 years in various capacities at all levels of the sport, local, regional, national and international.

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