Stéphane Gomez Honored By The International Marathon Swimming Hall Of Fame

Courtesy of Ned Denison, International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame.

Stéphane Gomez was elected as an Honor Swimmer in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame in the Class of 2021.

The 44-year-old Gomez, born in Millau, France, competed in 20 countries as an elite competitor for 11 years starting in 1999. Over his career of 87 events in distances from 10 km to 88 km, he stood on the podium after almost half of his races. He won a silver medal in the FINA World Swimming Championships at 25 km in 2001, the first French swimmer in history to medal in the open water at the championships.

Gomez won prestigious races on the elite circuit:
* 2004 in Atlantic City Around the Island Swim in the USA
* 2004 in the 57 km Maratón Acuática Internacional Santa Fe – Coronda in Argentina
* 2004 in the 15 km Maratón Acuática Internactional Ciudad de Rosario in Argentina
* 2005 in the 57 km Maratón Acuática Internacional Santa Fe – Coronda in Argentina
* 2006 in the 88 km Maratón Internacional Hernandarias – Paraná in Argentina
* 2008 in the 36 km Maratona del Golfo Capri-Napoli in Italy.

In the annual FINA Marathon Swimming World Cup Series, he medaled four times:
* 2nd in 2004
* 2nd in 2005
* 3rd in 2001
* 3rd in 2006

In the FINA Grand Prix Series, he was 3rd in 2008.

He led the French team to the FINA World Championship Team Gold at 25 km in 2000 and 2004. After retirement from open water competitions, he turned to triathlons and finished second at the World Championship Ironman 70.3 in 2017 Chattanooga (USA) and 2019 Nice (France) in the 40-44 age group.

Ned Denison, chairman of the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame, interviewed the newest Honor Swimmer – currently the coach of Grand Rodez Natation in Rodez, France – on today’s WOWSA Live. During the wide-ranging interview, Gomez said:

* he feels like he is part of a big global family now that he is part of the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame
* his friends and family did not fully realize his past swimming achievements
* he has so many memories and beautiful relationships with his fellow competitors
* he loved the Argentine river swims (Río Paraná, Río Coronda River, Rosario), the Traversée internationale du lac St-Jean in Canada, and the Maratona del Golfo Capri-Napoli in Italy
* he doubted and challenged himself to complete the toughest marathon races
* he remembered his first podium finish in lac St-Jean, a look into his future where he finished in the top 3 over the subsequent 10 years
* he followed in the wake of Stéphane Lecat who opened the door for French swimmers
* he remembered how difficult it is to swim in 15°C water in Argentina on one week and then in 30°C water in Canada the next week
* he had to swim 88 km after being fatigued from his previous races
* he took 9 hours to swim 500 meters in Shantou, China swimming against a current without hydration
* he compared marathon swimming to Ironman triathlons
* he remembered swimming 57 km with a broken left hand that was the hardest swim that he ever did

Gomez and his fellow inductees in the Class of 2021 will be honored sometime in 2021.

His story is told in L’aventure de l’eau libre, a book by François-Bernard Tremblay.

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