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Thursday, 27 June, 2002, 17:20 GMT 18:20 UK
Swimmer takes on the Mississippi
Martin Strel swims in the Danube
Strel trains by drinking a bottle of red wine every day
A Slovenian man hopes to set a new long distance world record by swimming the whole length of the Mississippi River in 66 days.


We are taking Cvicek [Slovenian red wine] with us. We have to take at least what is necessary for me - and I have to have a bottle a day

Martin Strel
Martin Strel will plunge into America's second largest river on 4 July hoping to swim an average of 58 kilometres a day to cover 3,797 kilometres (2,360 miles)

"I think my biggest problem will be strong winds and tides, but also alligators - and we are not talking small ones here - poisonous snakes and white sharks," he said.

"And don't forget it is a busy river - cargo ships sometimes reach up to 470 metres."

Mr Strel, a 47-year-old former professional guitarist, is already in the Guinness Books of Records, after becoming the first person to swim the entire length of the River Danube in 2000.

He completed the 2,860km (1,773 miles) journey in 58 days, swimming as an ambassador for the Worldwide Fund for Nature.

He also beat the world record for marathon swimming, held by an American.

Mr Strel was also the first to swim from Africa to Europe through the ferocious currents of the Straits of Gibraltar.

Wine lover

Mr Strel will be accompanied by a team in boats.

He likes to complement his training with his favourite local red wine and said his team has taken care of the vital element of his preparations.

"We are taking Cvicek [Slovenian red wine] with us. We have to take at least what is necessary for me - and I have to have a bottle a day."

"This means we have to take at least 70 bottles. And if something is left over, I'll share out the rest."

Mr Strel also hopes to break his own world non-stop swimming record set in July last year also on the Danube River.

He covered 504km in 84 hours and 10 minutes, beating the previous record of Argentina's Ricardo Hoffman - 481,5km in 84h 37min.

See also:

22 Aug 00 | Europe
24 Jul 00 | Europe
15 Aug 00 | Europe
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