Alex Kostich, known as the Travel Ninja is an American competitive swimmer, a 3-time Pan American Games gold medalist, former All-American swimmer at Stanford University, and 50-year-old marathon swimmer from California. He is one of the world's fastest open water swimmers and best masters swimmers as well as a former Vice President at Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City, California.
Open Water Swimming Highlights
- He won dozens of open water swims from California to the Caribbean including the Bora Bora Liquid Festival and the St. Croix Coral Reef Swim Race (14 times).
- He won the Waikiki Roughwater Swim three times in 1994, 2002, and 2006.
- He won the La Jolla Rough Water Swim six times.
- He completed the first circumnavigation around Bora Bora on 6 December 2013.
- He won the 16-mile Seal Beach Rough Water Swim held in Seal Beach, California in 2000.
- He won the 3-mile Naples Island Swim in 2017.
- He won the 1998 and 1999 Swim Around Key West in Florida, setting the masters swimming record in 1998.
- He won the Tiki Swim in 2017.
- He finished 3rd in the 6.5 km Samsung Bosphorus Cross Continental Swimming Race in Turkey on 22 July 2018.
- On 4 May 2019, he completed the first 9.8 km solo unassisted circumnavigation swim around Pitcairn Island in the Pacific Ocean in 2 hours 37 minutes 45 seconds.
- He is closing in on the Circumnavigation Seven with a completion of a 19 km circumnavigation swim around Bora Bora in 2013 in French Polynesia, several 4.3 km swims around Naples Island in Long Beach, California over his career, Swim Around Key West in Florida in 1999, and a 9.8 km circumnavigation swim around Pitcairn Island in the UK on 4 May 2019.
- On 11 October 2020, he won the 19.3 km Swim Around Charleston in South Carolina in 4 hours 13 minutes 43 seconds at the age of 50.
- He finished 2nd in the 3-mile Naples Island Swim in Long Beach, California on 15 August 2021 in 51:29.
- On 2 September 2019, he finished 9th in the 3.86 km Waikiki Roughwater Swim on Oahu, Hawaii at the age of 49.
- On 5 September 2022, he finished 7th in the 3.86 km Waikiki Roughwater Swim on Oahu, Hawaii at the age of 52.
2019 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year Nomination
Alex Kostich has succeeded – and lasted – in Hollywood for over two decades, responsible for the promotion of hit movies as his dryland profession. But it is in the ocean where Kostich has set his mark for the ages. After years of planning and closing in on the Circumnavigation Seven with a 19 km circumnavigation swim around Bora Bora, several 4.3 km swims around Naples Island in California, a 20.1 km Swim Around Key West in Florida, Kostich completed his most adventurous and treacherous circumnavigation yet: a 9.8 km very roughwater swim around Pitcairn Island way out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Just getting out to one of the world’s most remote inhabited islands took careful logistical planning and had to be delayed for months. Then his window of opportunity closed on him due to inclement weather and he set off not knowing if the swim was even remotely doable. But 2 hours 37 minutes after he started, the small community of Pitcairn will forever remember the island’s swimming pioneer. For mapping out a detailed plan to get to and pioneer a swim around Pitcairn Island located 2,170 km from Tahiti and 6,600 km from Panama, for swimming through heavy surf and wavy conditions with a large degree of uncertainty about finishing, for being bold and adventurous enough to swim outside of his comfort zone, the circumnavigation swim of Pitcairn Island by Alex Kostich is a worthy nominee for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.
Kostich is also a prolific writer and reporter:
o March / April 2011 Issue: "Open Water Swimming"
o January / February 2011 Issue: Featured in "Swimming for a Cause"
o September / October 2005 Issue: "Ready to Tri?"
o July / August 2011 Issue: Featured in "Out in the Open: Alex Kostich"
o November / December 2005 Issue: Featured in "Kostich Clinches Pier-to-Pier and La Jolla Rough Water Swims"
o September / October 2005 Issue: Featured in "A Healthy Life Calls for Balance"
In The Pool And Open Water
Guinness World Record Acceptance Speech
On 4 May 2019, Kostich completed the first 9.8 km solo unassisted circumnavigation swim around Pitcairn Island in the Pacific Ocean in 2 hours 37 minutes 45 seconds to establish a new Guinness World Record.
Global Swimming Summit
Kostich is a featured speaker at the 2016 Global Swimming Summit, a free online summit hosted by Chris Ritter of Ritter Sports Performance that explains and describes open water swimming for people of all ages and abilities. Speakers at the Global Swimming Summit include: Gerry Rodrigues, Lesley Paterson, Gary Hall Sr., Mike Collins, Alex Kostich, Brad Kearns, Glenn Mills, Karlyn Pipes, Tyler Fenwick, Kevin Rindal, Kristian Manietta and Steph Saullo.
2016 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year nomination
Kostich was nominated for the 2016 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year award.
Alex Kostich has always been a very fast swimmer. Although he first established his world-class credentials in the swimming pool as a young age-group swimmer and collegiate swimmer at Stanford University and at the Pan American Games, his open water swimming career has been highlighted by winning and finishing on the podium for decades in some of the most competitive ocean swims on the planet. For 24 consecutive years between the ages of 23 and 46, Kostich has finished the Top 10 at the Waikiki Roughwater Swim against Olympians, professional swimmers and men half his age. His track record is unparalleled not only in Hawaii, but also in the Caribbean Sea where he has dominated a number of races like the St. Croix Coral Reef Swim Race that he has won 18 times. For keeping up near-daily hard 8000-meter workouts while working on major Hollywood films, for spreading kind words and sharing his personal experiences about these open water swims on social media, for demonstrating that age is much less a factor in staying competitive than a healthy lifestyle, a passion for the sport, and daily commitment to training, Alex Kostich is a worthy nominee for the 2016 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.