FOR THE RECORD: World’s Great Marathon Swimmer from 1965-1974; Winner of 28 out of 44 Professional Races in a 10-Year Period; Ranked Number 1 in the World 5 Times During His Career.
Horatio Iglesias became Argentina’s great marathon swimmer. Beginning in 1965 and for a ten-year period, he won 28 professional races throughout South America, the United States, Canada and Italy. He was ranked first or second in all of his ten years on the marathon swimming circuit. He was noted for his stamina and never quit attitude, and although he preferred warm water swimming, he could swim equally as well in cold water.
To help alleviate a small back problem, he started swimming at age seven at Club de Gimnasia y Esgrima de Buenos Aries, one of the top clubs in his native Argentina. He was national age-group champion in the 1500m, 800m and 400m freestyles and also swam butterfly on the national level.At the 1960 South American Championships in Cali, Columbia, he finished third in the 1500m freestyle and second as a member of the Argentina 4 x 200m freestyle relay. All the while he participated in local open water championships that were held in the Rio de la Plata river, winning 90 percent of the swims.
In 1965 he was ready to quit swimming and concentrate on his university studies when he decided to compete in one more open water championship, this time the 38-mile Sante Fe - Coronada Marathon. He finished first, starting a career in which he won the World Professional Marathon title more times than any other competitor.
In the 1960s and 1970s there were two organizations that controlled marathon swimming, the International Long Distance Swimming Federation (ILDSF) and the World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation (WPMSF). The ILDSF was controlled by former Egyptian General Zorkani and declared the World Championship to the swimmer who won the 18-mile Capri - Naples Swim. The WPMSF’s administrative secretary, Joe Grossman, tallied swimmers’ points earned by their placing at various marathon swims during the season. A world champion was declared based upon the total number of points earned. Competitors traveled on this circuit of races and attended swims in North and South America and Europe. Horatio was declared World Professional Marathon Champion a record five times (1967, 1969, 1971, 1972, 1973) and was Vice Champion during the in-between years (1968, 1970).
During the ten years in which he swam (1965-1974) he won 28 out of 44 professional races. He was a six-time winner of the La Tuque 24-Hour Swim (Quebec) in which a team of two swimmers alternated swimming a circular one-mile course for 24 hours in 22 degree C water. Partners included Egypt’s Abou Heif and Holland’s Judith Denys among others. He was a four-time winner of the 25-mile Lac St Jean (Quebec) in 17 degree C water.
Some of his other swims include Sante Fe - Coronada, Argentina (38 mi., water 24 degrees C); Hernandardas - Pirana, Argentina (55 mi., water 24 degrees C); Lago el Quilla, Argentina (10 mi., water 24 degrees C); Mar del Plata, Argentina (23 mi., water 18 degrees C); Chicoutimi, Canada (28 mi., water 15 degrees C); Trois Rivieres, Canada (10 mi., water 22 degrees C); Lac Simone, Canada (15 mi., water 15 degrees C); Newport - Block Island, USA (25 mi., water 18 degrees C); Marathon du Montreal, Canada (10 mi., water 24 degrees C); Utrech, Holland (14 mi., 18 degrees C); and Capri - Naples, Italy (18 mi., 23 degrees C).
After retiring from competition, Horatio graduated university in 1969 as an electromechanical engineer. After working 22 years as an advisor for other companies, he started his own company in 1992, Axsys Comunicaciones de Argentina, a fiber-optic installation company. He is married to Albina and has three sons.
HORATIO IGLESIAS (ARG)
Honor Open Water Swimmer