Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

52-year-old Irene van der Laan, inducted as an Honour Swimmer in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame in 1985, will also be inducted in the International Swimming Hall of Fame as an Honor Open Water Swimmer in 2015.

It is a well-deserved recognition for an athlete with one of the most comprehensive marathon swimming resumes in the world.

Not only was van der Laan one of the fastest and most durable marathon swimmers in her heyday during the 1980s, but the prolific Dutch swimmers has been competing on the professional marathon swimming circuit for 3 decades, quite possibly participating in more marathon swims and competing for longer overall distance than anyone in history.

For example, completed her 21st Faros Maratón in addition to dozens of other marathon swims completed over 15 times.

Her career has also included over 200 professional marathon swimming competitions where she has transitioned from being coached by her father early in her career to having her daughter Jolina Stap take over the reins in the later part of her career.

She first swam the English Channel in 1979 and completed a double-crossing in 1983, establishing a new record and fastest swim of the year on her first leg. Van der Laan was the first person to win the Rolex watch two times for the fastest crossings in the English Channel of the year in 1982 and 1983.

Van der Laan was also the first women in several events on the World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation circuit during the 1980s. She competed in the 64 km (40-mile) Traversée internationale du lac St-Jean in 19 hours 5 minutes in 1986, the 64 km (40-mile) Traversée internationale du lac St-Jean in 18 hours 15 minutes in 1987, the 64 km (40-mile) Traversée internationale du lac St-Jean in 19 hours 47 minutes in 1988, the 40 km (25-mile) Traversée internationale du lac St-Jean in 10 hours 54 minutes in 1990, the 40 km (25-mile) Traversée internationale du lac St-Jean in 11 hours 50 minutes in 1991, the 40 km (25-mile) Traversée internationale du lac St-Jean in 11 hours 20 minutes in 1997.

Olivier Ervyn, a Belgian who creates spectacular documentary photography, captured van der Laan getting out of her 20th successful completion of the Faros Maratón in 2013.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association