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Tammy Van Wisse

Marathon Swimmer “to motivate, just add water”

Most people fly, some board a ship, but Tammy van Wisse has done it the hard way by swimming 1.5 times round the world. At 32, Tammy has swum 60,000 kilometres – testament to her amazing stamina and strength.

So how did Tammy become a champion marathon swimmer?

Victorian born, Tammy started her formal swimming training at age 11. She progressed through her teens winning Victorian State Swimming and Victorian Royal Life Saving Titles. Lifesaving became an integral part of Tammy’s career, and she entered events such as the Lorne Pier to Pub swim, which she won in 1986, 1987 and 1989. Her first marathon swim was in 1986 from Beaumaris to Frankston, a distance of twenty kilometres.

A decade later, Tammy entered the Guinness Book of Records in 1996 as the first person to swim Bass Strait. From there, she established other record times and wins for swimming Loch Ness, New Zealand’s Cook Strait, the English Channel, Olympic Games Centenary Marathon swim in Greece and Manhattan Island Marathon Swim in New York.

Locally, Tammy is a member of the Black Rock Lifesaving Club and patrols the beach during summer. She trains at Haileybury pool under the guidance of Wayne Lawes and her marathon swims are overseen by Olympic swimming legend Dawn Fraser.

On 18th February 2001, Tammy completed her greatest challenge to date by swimming the entire length of the Murray River from the alps to the ocean – a feat no one else in the world has achieved. Starting from Corryong in Victoria’s high country, it took Tammy 106 days to reach the Murray Mouth in South Australia, a distance of 2438 kilometres.

As a human water quality tester, Tammy has long been a campaigner for cleaner waterways. Whilst working in her watery office, the Murray River, Tammy tried to raise awareness about environmental issues confronting the river such as poor environmental flows, salinity and toxic algal bloom.

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