Niko Nestor

From Openwaterpedia

Niko Nestor (Macedonian Cyrillic: Нико Нестор; born 10 June 1934 in Struga, Yugoslavia, died 1981 in Skopje) was a Macedonian open water swimmer and water polo player, a member of the World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation, and a Channel Swimming Association representative in Macedonia.

Swimming and Water Polo Career Highlights

  • Nestor was the first man to swim across Lake Ohrid in North Macedonia.
  • Nestor was the first Eastern European man to swim the English Channel.
  • Nestor was named the Honorary Life President of the International Swimming Marathon in Macedonia.[2]
  • In 1945, at age 10, he joined the Swimming Club ‘Ohridski Branovi’ (Ohrid Waves). After participating in swimming courses organised by the Macedonian Swimming Committee under the auspices of the Yugoslav Swimming Federation, Nestor won races in Split, Croatia as a member of the Macedonian team.
  • In 1948 at the Juniors Championship held in Ohrid, Nestor earned five championship titles in the 50m, 100m and 400m freestyle.
  • He set Macedonian national records in the 50m, 200m, 400m, 1000m and 1500m freestyle events as he dominated those distances between 1949 and 1954.
  • He also set Macedonia records in breaststroke and backstroke (note: butterfly had yet to become an acknowledged competitive swimming stroke).
  • On 2 August 1954, he won a 2.5 km race in Ohrid Lake from Gorica to Ohrid.
  • He also represented Macedonia in water polo as he played for the Ohridski Branovi water polo club.
  • Over time, he set new distance records from St. Stefan to Ohrid, from Pestani to Ohrid, and from St. Naum to Ohrid.
  • He became the first person to swim the 33 km distance from St. Naum to Struga for 11 hours 28 minutes on 19 August 1958, with his coach Slave Filev, journalist Boris Pop Gorcev, observers Kliment Zarov and Goko Dimic, Dr. Serafimov Ljupco, and escort pilot Ivo Sersic.
  • In 1959, he swam 24 km from St. Naum to Ohrid in 6 hours 45 minutes. His accomplishment led to an annual marathon swimming competition that continues as a FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix event.
  • On 27 August 1959, he did not start a planned English Channel crossing from France to England during the Butlins International Cross Channel Swimming Race.
  • On 9 September 1959, Nestor swam the English Channel from Cap Gris Nez, France to St. Margaret's Bay in Dover, England after 12 hours 6 minutes. He was accompanied by an escort boat with his personal coach Kliment Zarov and alongside Mexican Miguel Gonzales Lopes and Spaniard Rodolfo Rodriguez. He become the first man from the Eastern Bloc to complete an English Channel crossing in the event sanctioned by the Channel Swimming Association as the Billy Butlin Cross Channel International Swim.
  • He competed in the 1960 Around the Island Atlantic City Swim in Atlantic City, New Jersey, where he won the amateur division.


  • Certificate of the Channel Swimming Association for crossing the English Channel
  • Diploma of best Sportsman for 1959
  • Golden Medal of the Sport Federation Alliance of Macedonia
  • Golden Medal 50th Anniversary of the Organisation ‘Ohridski branovi’ Ohrid
  • ‘Klime Savin’ Award
  • Golden Medal – award of the TV channel “Sitel”
  • Awarded as a Centenary Sportsman in Macedonia for marathon swimming
  • Awards from the President of the Republic of Macedonia

External links