Walter Poenisch nominated for both ISHOF & IMSHOF finally!

The user and all related content has been deleted.


  • DanSimonelliDanSimonelli San Diego CASenior Member

    Excellent @Niek =D>

  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandCharter Member

    I think Niek has done a good job here. Having seen some of the correspondence I found it heartening to see the positive response of the Swimming Hall of Fame (as distinct from the Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame) to holding to standards and expectations of behaviour, integrity and truth.


  • phodgeszohophodgeszoho UKSenior Member

    Awesome! Well done @Niek

  • bruckbruck San FranciscoMember

    Given ISHOF's culpability (with Nyad) in dishonoring Walter Poenisch's name back in the '80s, it would be quite delicious to see them recognize him now as the first Cuba-Florida swimmer.

  • gregocgregoc Charter Member


  • IronMikeIronMike Northern VirginiaCharter Member


    We're all just carbon, water, starlight, oxygen and dreams

  • rosemarymintrosemarymint Charleston, SCCharter Member


  • rosemarymintrosemarymint Charleston, SCCharter Member

    (I also want to note that I rarely ever do things such as this, but filling this out is an illustration of how strongly I feel that Walter finally be recognized.)

  • DanSimonelliDanSimonelli San Diego CASenior Member

    Yes!!! =D>

  • rosemarymintrosemarymint Charleston, SCCharter Member

    WOOHOOO!!!! This is the best news I've had in days!!!

  • evmoevmo SydneyAdmin

    Has anyone contacted Nyad for comment?

    Fun to read this old UPI article in the present context:

  • IronMikeIronMike Northern VirginiaCharter Member

    I'm seeing many pictures from Ms. Poenisch on FB. Did Walter get his day recently?

    We're all just carbon, water, starlight, oxygen and dreams

  • DanSimonelliDanSimonelli San Diego CASenior Member

    IronMike said:
    I'm seeing many pictures from Ms. Poenisch on FB. Did Walter get his day recently?

    Yes, Walter was inducted ISHOF this past weekend.
    And Beth Yudovin presented the award with Faye accepting!

  • IronMikeIronMike Northern VirginiaCharter Member
    edited October 2019

    IMSHOF has nominated Mr. Walter Poenisch as a 2020 Honor Swimmer! If you don't know about him, see below from the press release:

    Walter Poenisch at the age of 65 was the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida: 128.8 miles/ 207 km in 34 hours and 15 minutes. The swim ended on July 13, 1978, when he reached Little Duck Key, Florida. Walter swam under pre-announced rules, under independent witness and the observation report was in the public record. The observer/authenticator was J. Marvin Mims the President of the International Federation of Professional Ocean Swimmers and Divers. Their rules allowed: fins, snorkel, shark cage and getting out of the water four times for no longer than five minutes at a time to administer emergency medicine, receive critical nourishment, or for any reason that directly threatened the life of the swimmer. These facts were never in dispute and he broke his own record for the longest ocean swim.

    As a young man his occupation was listed as a cookie baker, rodeo competitor and strongman. Walter was late to marathon swimming (50 years of age) – first entering (but not finishing) the 1963 Jim Moran Lake Michigan Swim. He was credited as the “World’s Strongest Endurance Swimmer” for such feats as towing 30-ton paddlewheel boats while swimming with his hands and feet shackled.

    Walter set world records for the longest ocean swims before the Cuba swim: 90.75 miles/146 km in the Atlantic Ocean and four year later 122.5 miles/197.1 km from the Florida Keys to the tip of the Florida peninsula.

    Motivated by the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, Poenisch conceived of the idea of Swim for Peace, swimming from Cuba to the USA: “to further better relations between my country and Cuba". It took him 15 years of letter writing and lobbying, to both governments, to obtain permission. Walter was the first swimmer to use publicity to deliver a positive political message (now called “Speedo Diplomacy”) – other IMSHOF Honorees including Lynne Cox and Lewis Pugh have since followed.

    Cuban Leader Fidel Castro was on hand (proposing a toast honoring his efforts and his dream of peace between their two nations), on Walters’ 65th birthday. The next day he started and completed the swim.

    Congrats to Mr. Poenisch on an honor long overdue!


    We're all just carbon, water, starlight, oxygen and dreams

Sign In or Register to comment.