While swimming the 19-mile Bosphorus Straits in Turkey, physics professor Michael Paesler solved problems related to tricky currents, water temperature, timing and endurance. After emerging from the water, he donned an NC State cap for Turkish television, which posted clips of his May 14 solo swim.
Paesler, a department head by day, trained in Carmichael Pool and Falls Lake before tackling the straits that separate the European and Asian sides of Turkey.
A competitive swimmer since childhood, he began marathon swimming in Lake Michigan while attending graduate school at the University of Chicago. He also was a member of two University of Chicago national championship teams in masters swimming, once holding the national record for the 1,650-yard freestyle in his age group.
After joining the World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation, in September 1970 as a graduate student, he crossed the English Channel from Cape Gris-Nez, France, to Folkstone, England. His time was the year’s fastest, earning him the title “Channel Swimmer of the Year.”
In his latest long-distance swim, Paesler tackled the shipping channel that connects the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara. Although the city of Istanbul sponsors a group swim in July when the shipping channels are closed and the water is quite warm, his solo attempt involved colder water, unpredictable currents and more boat traffic. He is taking part in a Turkish-American friendship exchange with the Divan Cultural Society of Cary from May 16-25.