Teaching a Syrian Warlord to Swim – Feature Video

Video interview is courtesy of Christopher Dickey and The Daily Beast.

Via The Daily Beast:

Photographer Jonathan Alpeyrie (former DIII competitive swimmer and water polo player), who was recently held captive in Syria for 81 days, recounts the surreal story of being forced to teach a Hawaiian-swimsuit-clad local militia leader how to swim. ‘I was holding him like a baby for an hour,’ says Alpeyrie, ‘but by the end he could swim.’

Interviewer (reporter and author) Christopher Dickey is an old friend. We met during the 1992 Olympic Games where Christopher was covering the swimming competition for Newsweek Magazine. Aside from being brilliant, Christopher is equally nice and engaging, treating all subjects — Middle Eastern politics, The Vatican, and/or swimming — with a keen eye for detail. Christopher gets it right every time, allowing the reader or viewer to experience that moment in history as if they were standing in his shoes.

If you do not know Christopher Dickey, please read his bio here. 

You can follow Christopher Dickey on Twitter here. 

Digging Deeper On War Photographer Jonathan Alpeyrie – VIA HIS CV:

– Alperyria swam division III at the University of Chicago (1998).  

– Silver Championship of New York swimming competition (1997) _ New York State Championship (1998)

– Jack Nelson Swim Camp, trained with US National Team (1997)

– NYC water polo team: (2007) 

See Jonathan Alpeyrie’s photography website here. 

Jonathan Alpeyrie Bio – VIA HIS WEBSITE:

Born in Paris in 1979, Jonathan Alpeyrie moved to the United States in 1993. He graduated from the French high school of New York City in 1998, before going to the University of Chicago to study medieval history. Jonathan started his career shooting for local Chicago newspapers during his undergraduate years. He did his first photo essay in 2001 while travelling the South Caucasus. After graduating in 2003, he went to the Congo to work on various essays, which were noticed and picked up by Getty images, and signed a contributor contract in early 2004. Jonathan has worked as a freelance for various publications and websites such as, Le Figaro magazine, American Photo, Africa International, The Traveler UK, and various New York City and Los Angeles Newspapers. Today he is a staff photographer for Polaris Images, which he signed with in November 2009. He also has been working as a fashion photographer in New York City for the past two years , with ELLE and various local designers. Jonathan Alpeyrie’s career, which stretches over a decade, has brought him in over 25 countries, covered 9 conflict zones, mostly in East Africa, the South Caucasus, the Middle East and central Asia. A photography book about WWII veterans with Verve Editions is also in the works, and planed to come out next year. 
Jonathan Alpeyrie, have been published in reviews such as: Paris Match, Aftenposten, Time magazine, Newsweek, Wine Spectator, Boston Globe, Glamour, BBC , World magazine, Popular Photography, the New York Times, VSD, American Photo and ELLE.


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Strange, yet oddly compelling story. I wish the interview was longer.

About Gold Medal Mel Stewart

Gold Medal Mel Stewart

MEL STEWART Jr., aka Gold Medal Mel, won three Olympic medals at the 1992 Olympic Games. Mel's best event was the 200 butterfly. He is a former World, American, and NCAA Record holder in the 200 butterfly. As a writer/producer and sports columnist, Mel has contributed to Yahoo Sports, Universal Sports, …

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