Cambria’s record-setting open-water swimmer is about to be honored on the highest international level.
David Yudovin is to be inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in a mid-September ceremony at a castle in Loch Lomond, Scotland. The enshrinement event also will mark the Hall of Fame’s 50th anniversary.
Yudovin, 63, joins such notables as Clarence “Buster” Crabbe, Johnny Weissmueller, Mark Spitz, Gertrude Ederle and Yudovin’s longtime friend and channel-swimming training partner, Lynne Cox, in the Hall. He is being inducted as an honor open-water swimmer.
Yudovin was notified in a February email from the Hall’s chief executive director, Bruce Wigo.
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The Cambria swimmer was overwhelmed and in tears after opening the email. “This is such an incredible honor,” he said then in his call to The Cambrian. “I was pinching myself. To have this happen in my lifetime, it’s an amazing thing. And then the fact that my 90-year-old father (Sandy Yudovin) would be able to be at the induction.”
Others being enshrined during the same ceremony include honor open-water swimmers Claudio Pitt of Argentina and Judith van Berkel-de Nijs of the Netherlands, honor open-water contributor Dale Petranech of the U.S., and pioneer open-water swimmers George Young of Canada and Mercedes Gleitze of Great Britain, with the latter being honored posthumously.
Wigo said Yudovin’s selection was based on his “groundbreaking achievements in open-water swimming,” along with the Cambrian’s “remarkable story about his cardiac arrest and recovery his determination to live and continue swimming.”
Yudovin, whose heart attack struck while he was swimming across a channel, also is a survivor of leukemia. He has spent nearly four decades in the sport, being the first to swim across more than three dozen open-water channels, having crossed such notable straits as the English Channel, Cook Strait in New Zealand and Catalina Channel in California. His swims have begun from nearly every continent in the world plus several islands.
In Yudovin’s most recent crossing, he spent 6 hours and 11 minutes swimming 11.5 nautical miles in the waters of the small African nation of São Tomé, between Tinhosa Pequena and Principe.
He said in an email the next day that the experience included encounters with two sharks, separately, several dolphins and “a beautiful blue marlin that swam very close and made eye contact, then slowly swam away.”
During the swim, Yudovin also was hit several times by Portuguese men-o’-war — stings he called “extremely painful” — and battled “sea conditions that were as rough as any I have ever been in.”