Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach.

Joe Zemaitis is an inspirational athlete, coach, teacher and author from Arizona.

As a coach, I was motivated to help swimmers because I believe every child has a core genius, a natural talent, something he or she is particularly good at. In almost every child’s life there is someone or something that brings out the very best in them.

For the kids that’s what the Foundation for Aquatic Safety and TrainingFAST – is all about: kids saving kids. Both the lives of the swimmers involved and the lives of the high-risk children they reach with our drowning prevention message are changed forever. FAST Talkers and FAST’s Water Safety for Refugees programs are helping make Arizona water safer for children. We also sponsor major media events designed to keep the drowning prevention message in the media spotlight all year long.

I am passionate about health and education issues and using sports to help kids excel in life.”

Whether it is writing a book (Joe’s Rules) or becoming the youngest person to break the 10-hour mark in the Hawaii Ironman Triathlon World Championship, Zemaitis has always been on the go, physically, intellectually and creatively.

The head coach of Swim Neptune explains, “We train hard so the impossible become imaginable and the imaginable becomes achievable. It is a lesson that I learned in life that has extended far beyond water’s edge.”

Most recently, the 38-year-old developed the concept of the Triple Crown of Stage Swims, a three-event series for solo marathon swimmers that requires the successful solo completion of a lake stage swim in Arizona, a river stage swim in New York, and an ocean stage swim in Hawaii, three completely different challenges that stretch across the United States.

Last year, both he and Devon Clifford pioneered the achievement with Zemaitis completing the trio of swims a few months before the 28-year-old Clifford. He explains, “This challenge encourages swimmers to attempt three very different and incredibly compelling events that represent some of the best that our sport has to offer.”

They are the first swimmers to complete the Triple Crown of Stage Swims, a three-event series for solo marathon swimmers that requires the successful solo completion of a lake stage swim in Arizona, a river stage swim in New York, and an ocean stage swim in Hawaii, three completely different challenges that stretch across the United States.

The Triple Crown of Stage Swims includes the following event:

* SCAR Swim Challenge: a 4-day, 4-stage 66.9 km lake stage swim: 15.2 km Saguaro Lake on Day 1 + 14.4 km Canyon Lake on Day 2 + 27.3 km Apache Lake on Day 3 + 10 km Roosevelt Lake on Day 4 in Arizona, USA organized by Kent Nicholas
* 8 Bridges Hudson River Swim: an 8-day, 7-stage 193 km river stage swim down the Hudson River: 29.4 km on Day 1 + 31.8 km on Day 2 + 21.2 km on Day 3 + 24.4 km on Day 4 + 31.8 km on Day 5 (The Beast) + 25.2 km on Day 6 + 29.1 km on Day 7 in New York, USA organized by New York Open Water
* Au I Na Mokupuni Ekolu Endurance Challenge Invitational: a 3-day 3-stage 42.9 km ocean channel stage swim: 14.2 km Auau Channel from the island of Maui to the island of Lanai on Day 1 + 13.7 km Pailolo Channel from the island of Maui to the island of Molokai on Day 2 + 15 km Kalohi Channel from the island of Molokai to the island of Lanai on Day 3 in Hawaii, USA organized by Dr. Steven Minaglia

Zemaitis became the first swimmer to complete the Triple Crown of Stage Swims on June 26th 2018:

He completed all 4 stage swims of the 2015 SCAR Swim Challenge at the age of 35:
* On 6 May 2015, he completed a 13.3 km crossing of Saguaro Lake at the SCAR Swim Challenge in 3 hours 44 minutes
* On 7 May 2015, he completed a 14.1 km crossing of Canyon Lake at the SCAR Swim Challenge in 3 hours 34 minutes
* On 8 May 2015, he completed a 22.8 km crossing of Apache Lake at the SCAR Swim Challenge in 8 hours 2 minutes
* On 9 May 2015, he completed a 9 km crossing of Roosevelt Lake at the SCAR Swim Challenge in 3 hours 9 minutes

He completed all 3 stage swim s of the 2017 ʻAu I Nā Mokupuni ʻEkolu Swim Challenge at the age of 38:
* On Day 1, he completed a 14.2 crossing of the Auau Channel] from the island of Lanai to the island of Maui
* On Day 2, he completed a 15 km crossing of the Kalohi Channel from the island of Lanai to the island of Molokai
* On Day 3, he completed a 13.7 crossing of the Pailolo Channel from the island of Maui to the island of Molokai

He completed all 7 stage swims of the 2018 8 Bridges Hudson River Swim finishing in 39 hours 52 minute for the 16th fastest time in history at the age of 38:
* On 19 June 2018, he won the 29.5 km Stage 1 in the 8 Bridges Hudson River Swim in New York in 5 hours 0 minutes
* On 20 June 2018, he finished 3rd in the 31.9 km Stage 2 in the 8 Bridges Hudson River Swim in New York in 6 hours 20 minutes
* On 21 June 2018, he won the 21.2 km Stage 3 in the 8 Bridges Hudson River Swim in New York in 4 hours 17 minutes
* On 22 June 2018, he won the 24.1 km Stage 4 in the 8 Bridges Hudson River Swim in New York in 4 hours 43 minutes
* On 24 June 2018, he finished 3rd in the 31.9 km Stage 5 in the 8 Bridges Hudson River Swim in New York in 8 hours 59 minutes
* On 25 June 2018, he finished 3rd in the 25.3 km Stage 6 in the 8 Bridges Hudson River Swim in New York in 3 hours 44 minutes
* On 26 June 2018, he finished 3rd in the 29.9 km Stage 7 in the 8 Bridges Hudson River Swim in New York in 6 hours 36 minutes

Zemaitis said, “What I have loved about the stage swims is that you really get to know the other participants. At solo swims, you’re pretty much on your own by design. At [competitive] races, you meet some people on one day, but pretty much go your separate ways pretty quickly.

In contrast at the stage swims, you get to interact with the same people day after day and really get to know them. I’ve met so many amazing people at these stage swims.

Two years ago, I made a list of ten swims I wanted to do, but even with all the swimming I’ve done over the past two years, the list is getting longer, not shorter, as I hear about so many more ‘must do’ swims from some amazing people.

Clifford became the first woman to complete the Triple Crown of Stage Swims on September 9th 2018 [her story is here]:

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