Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Vojislav Mijić of Serbia was inducted as an Honour Swimmer in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame on the Isle of Bute in Scotland this year.

Mijić’s induction speech is below.

My dear sports friends, International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame, and respected swimming legends.

Honour, pride, privilege and pleasure are in my heart and soul today for receiving the greatest and most prestigious sports award in the world, which is a great dream of every sportsman on this planet Earth.

Today my home town Šabac is Serbia celebrates its patron saints in Christian Orthodox calendar day of birth of Holy Virgin Mary, Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is a great satisfaction that this is happening on this exact day and I am sure that this is not accidental.

When I swam my first swimming marathon in Šabac in 1973 along a course of 3 km, I did not believe nor expect that some day I will be on top of the world as a worthy and honorable citizen.

Back then in old Yugoslavia, there were only two marathon swims: the Jarak-Šabac Marathon Swim (Plivački maraton Jarak-Šabac) and the Faros Maratón. As you already know, the Faros Maratón is in the Hall of Fame and I hope that in the near future, the Šabac Marathon which is celebrating its 45th birthday this year with swimmers from 10 countries will one day also be in the Hall of Fame.

I am glad that now in Serbia’s competition calendar, there are about 20 swimming marathons annually. Many many miles I swam in big waves, strong currents, in hot and cold seas, oceans, rivers, lakes and open waters asking myself why I do that and why I need it. People have said to me that I was crazy and silly. And now everything has changed and our most attractive and difficult marathon swimming sports has become a discipline since the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Thanks to the dear and merciful Lord, our names are in the Hall of Fame.

This is how it should be because we, marathon swimmers have goals for which we fight, to reach and achieve. We spread optimism and we are happy when we win medals and when people come to us and say, Bravo master.

Little things that makes life more beautiful.

I wish to all of you lots of luck in sports and personal happiness and may God protect us and bless us.

Photo shows Vojislav Mijić with his wife after the International Swimming Hall of Fame ceremonies in Scotland.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association