This list includes the country, selection/induction year and short bios of all Honor (Pioneer) Swimmers in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame.
Antonio Abertondo, Argentina, 1964
From 1942 to 1961, Antonio swam many marathon swims in Argentina. In 1946, he successfully crossed Rio de la Plata in 29+ hours. His five English Channel crossings were in the 1950 and 1951 Daily Mail races, the 1954 Butlin race and in 1961 when he became the first person to do a double-crossing of the English Channel in 43 hours 10 minutes (with a four-minute onshore rest).
Abdulla Latif Abou-Heif, Egypt, 1964
Abou-Heif, known as the Crocodile of the Nile, enjoyed a tremendous marathon swimming career from 1953 to 1972. In 2001, he was voted Marathon Swimmer of the Century by the International Swimming Hall of Fame. He won the longest professional swim to date, 96.5 km (60 miles) in Lake Michigan in 34 hours and 45 minutes and competed in 68 international races – and won 25 – between 30 km (18.6 miles) and 80 km (49.7 miles) in water temperatures ranging between 12-28.8°C (54-84°F) in France, Italy, United States, Canada, Argentina, Lebanon, England, Yugoslavia, Mexico and Holland. He won the 1955 Butlin English Channel race in 11 hours 44 minutes and was the 1964, 1965, and 1968 World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation Champion.
He won the 37 km (23-mile) la Descente ou remontée du Saguenay in 1968 after returning from the Egyptian-Israel War of 1967 in 9 hours 10 minutes in 1968 and in 1969 when the race was called after 30.5 km (19 miles) before of worsening conditions. No body of water was too difficult for Abou-Heif to challenge and complete. He was also voted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame as an Honor Open Water Swimmer 1998).
Nick Adams, Great Britain, 2013
Ever since he first made a splash in the English Channel world as an 16-year-old, the youngest to ever complete a 2-way crossing of the hallowed waterway, Nick Adams was destined for greatness. Now moving into his third decade in the channel swimming community, his lifetime of work in the water, on land and in the virtual world has been recognized by the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame. Adams was selected as an Honor Swimmer in the Class of 2013.
The 36-year-old marathon swimmer and teacher resides in London and is the very active President of the Channel Swimming & Piloting Federation. He also founded and manages the very influential Channel Swimmers online group. A visionary with the tools and intellectual to execute across borders and cultures, Adams has effectively promoted the sport of channel swimming and its participants through the virtual world. He and his colleagues volunteer their time to provide a global forum for the channel swimming community that offers a plethora of useful resources for both neophytes and veterans.
Adams has been involved in English Channel swimming since the age of fifteen, successfully completing the English Channel a total of 8 times including a two-way crossing in 27 hours 28 minutes which qualified him for the 24-hour club. He has done 3 of the Oceans Seven (English Channel + Catalina Channel + Strait of Gibraltar) and has attempted a three-way crossing of the English Channel. When contemporary swimmers think of the English Channel, Nick Adams comes immediately to mind. He not only swims across the hallowed waterway with frequency, but he is always a voice of reason and a thoughtful leader through his actions and statements, only made at the most appropriate times. As an athlete, he is one of the most prolific channel swimmers in the world today – and he still has plenty of additional swims left in him. His contributions to the marathon swimming community have been outstanding and it is a well-deserved recognition for his accomplishments and work.
Aleksey Akatyev (also Alexei Akatiev), Russia, 2009
Aleksey (Alexei) was the first Russian to transition from a world-class pool swimmer to a world-class marathon swimmer. After competing at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics in Atlanta in two events, he won the 5 km and 25 km races at the 1998 World Swimming Championships. He later established an open water school in Russia and served as the Russian national open water swim coach. At the 2000 World Open Water Swimming Championships, he not only coached the team (including the Russian 5 km gold medalist and 25 km gold medalist), but also swam to a bronze medal in the 25 km, just over a minute slower than the swimmer he was coaching.
He won the following medals at the FINA World Championships: 1994 25 km bronze, 1998 5 km gold, 1998 25 km gold, 1998 5 km team silver, 2000 25 km bronze.
He won the following medals at the LEN European Championships: 1995 5 km gold, 1995 25 km gold, 1996 5 km gold, 1996 25 km gold, 1999 5 km silver, 1999 25 km gold. He won the following medals on the FINA World Cup Series: 1999 30 km gold in Lake Ohrid (Macedonia), 2000 25 km gold in Bled (Slovenia), 2000 30 km bronze in Lake Ohrid (Macedonia).
David Alleva, USA, 1992
David Alleva’s six-year professional marathon swimming career started in 1988 with a third place at the 42 km (26-mile) Traversée Internationale Duc Lac Memphremagog marathon swim in Quebec, Canada. One year later, he won the 1989 World Championship Ocean Marathon Swim in Atlantic City, New Jersey (23 miles, 8 hours 5 minutes) and was the Long Distance Swimming World Champion in 1990 after winning the Capri-Napoli marathon swim in Naples, Italy (36 km, 6 hours 57 minutes). David consistently placed in the top three throughout his marathon career that included second place in the 1991 Traversée Internationale du Lac St-Jean 40 km marathon in 10 hour 19 minutes and in 1993 in 10 hours 28 minutes and third place in the 1990 Santa Fe-Coronda River 57 km (36-mile) marathon in Argentina in 7 hours 9 minutes.
Jacques Amyot, Canada, 1995
Jacques was the first person to swim across lac St-Jean in Quebec, Canada in 1955. His efforts lead to the formation of la Traversée internationale du lac St-Jean, one of the world’s longest and best organized professional marathon swimming races. On 23 July 1955, seven swimmers signed up for the first crossing of la Traversée internationale du lac St-Jean, but only Jacques finished the 26 km (16-mile) swim in 11 hours 32 minutes.
Greta Andersen, Denmark, 1964
Greta won a gold medal in the 100-meter freestyle and a silver medal in 4 x 100 meter freestyle relay in the 1948 Olympics. She was fourth in 4 x 100 meter freestyle relay and eighth in the 400-meter freestyle at the 1952 Olympics. She held world records from 100 yards in 1949 to 50 miles in 1962, from Chicago to Kenosha, Wisconsin, USA. She won 13 world championships and set 72 amateur swimming records. Greta swam the English Channel five times, winning the famous Butlin English Channel Race twice in 1957 and 1958 in 10 hours 59 minutes, and winning the women’s event from 1957 to 1959. She completed a double-crossing of the English Channel and was the first person to complete a double-crossing of the Catalina Channel in 1958 in 26 hours 53 minutes.
She was the first woman in the 1956 16 km (10-mile) Salton Sea marathon swim in the California, USA desert, a 24 km (15-mile) Huntington Beach-to-Long Beach swim in 1957, a 42 km (26-mile) swim in Guaymas, Mexico that took her 12 hours in 1957, the 36 km (22.5-mile) Around the Island Swim in Atlantic City, USA in 12 hours and 36 minutes in 1957, the 24 km (15-mile) Owen Sound Marathon in Canada in 6 hours and 15 minutes in 1957, the Around the Island Swim in Atlantic City, USA in 1958, in 1959 in 11 hours 7 minutes and 1963 the 30.5 km (19-mile) Traversée internationale du Lac Memphrémagog in 1958 in Canada. Greta won the 42 km (26-mile) professional marathon swim in Guaymas, Mexico in 1958 and did an 11 hour 7 minute single-crossing of the Catalina Channel in 1958. She also won the 80.4 km (50-mile) World Long Distance Open Water Swimming Championship in 1962 in Lake Michigan. She truly earned her title of the “World’s Greatest Female Swimmer.”
She is also an inductee in the International Swimming Hall of Fame (1996) and a recipient of their Lifetime Achievement Award (2015).
Antonio Argüelles Díaz-González, Mexico, 2015
Antonio Argüelles Díaz-González has completed several marathons and Ironman triathlons, and a member of the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming and the Half Century Club. Argüelles founded the Mexican Triathlon Federation and has been its honorary president since 1995. He has completed the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim in 7 hours 56 minutes and 8 hours 21 minutes, the Catalina Channel crossing in 12 hours 25 minutes and 13 hours 10 minutes and 10 hours 25 minutes, the Swim Around Key West in 4 hours 34 minutes, the English Channel in 18 hours 19 minutes and 12 hours 54 minutes. He wrote the book A Cada Brazada: El Azul Interminable (At Each Stroke: Endless Blue) with Nora Toledano which he retells his experience of crossing the English Channel.
Paul Asmuth, USA, 1982
Paul Asmuth won seven World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation titles between 1980 and 1985 and in 1988. He finished an incredible 59 professional marathon swimming races. He won six 42 km (26-mile) Traversée internationale du Lac Memphrémagog in Canada and was named Athlete of the Decade (1990’s) by the Atlantic City Press (New Jersey, USA). Asmuth won the 36 km (22.5-mile) Around the Island Swim in Atlantic City, USA an unprecedented eight times in water ranging between the high 50ºF’s to the low 80ºF’s. He won the 34 km (21-mile) Traversée internationale du Lac St-Jean professional race from 1980–1984 in Canada, the 64 km (40-mile) race from 1985 to 1989 and the 40 km (25-mile) race from 1990 to 1992. He set a record of 17 hours and 6 minutes in 1989 in the 64 km (40-mile) Traversée internationale du Lac St-Jean race in Canada. He won the professional 32 km (20-mile) Maratona del Golfo – Capri-Napoli in Italy three times and set the course record of 6 hours 35 minutes. He was a 4-time winner of the 27 km (17-mile) Les Quatorze swim in 50ºF water and set the record of 5 hours and 35 minutes in 1981.
His solo swims include three English Channel crossings including setting the men’s record, the 50 km (31-mile) Nantucket-to-Cape Cod (the only person to swim the course) and the first person to circumnavigate the 45 km (28.5-mile) Manhattan Island circumnavigation in under seven hours. Asmuth was also inducted as an Honor Swimmer in the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 2010.
Ersin Aydin, Turkey, 1979
Ersin Aydin successfully swam the English Channel twice and in both directions. He swam from France to England in 16 hours 40 minutes in 1975 and from England to France in 13 hours 40 minutes in 1977.
David Barra, USA, 2017
In 2010, David Barra set the gold standard for a marathon swimming year: Maui, Tampa Bay, Manhattan, Catalina, Boston Light, English Channel, and then Ederle – More than 200k of epic marathon swimming.
This earned him one of his early honors: “The Barra Award”. It is presented annually by the Marathon Swimmers Federation to the swimmer with the most impressive year of marathon swimming. It gave further weight to David’s favorite saying – “Anything worth doing is worth overdoing”.
He continues to swim marathons including S.C.A.R., Around Jersey, Lac St. Jean, Provincetown to Plymouth, in Search of Memphre, Keuka Lake, 61 km Cayuga Lake and Around Cape May.
David also gives back to the sport. He started the 8 Bridges Hudson River Swim. This 193 km, 7 day, staged swim is one of the toughest weeks in the sport. Barra was also part of the team which restarted Around Manhattan as the 20 Bridges Swim. It certainly pleased many aspiring Triple Crown swimmers stuck on two legs. As part of history, Barra was an observer on Chloë McCardel’s world record swim to Nassau.
Marilyn Bell, Canada, 1967
16-year-old Marilyn Bell was the first person to swim 51.4 km (32 miles) across Lake Ontario in 1953. As a 17-year-old, she became the youngest English Channel swimmer for a period of eight years. She swam from Cap Gris Nez, France to East Wear Bay, England in July 1955.
Tina Bischoff, USA, 1983
Tina Bischoff swam the English Channel in 1976 in 9 hours 3 minutes, only seven minutes slower than the fastest crossing of that year.
Tom Blower, Great Britain, 1964
Tom Blower made three successful English Channel crossings. In 1937, he swam from Cape Griz Nez, France to Abbots Cliff, England in 13 hours 31 minutes. In 1948, he swam from Archcliffe Beach, making him second person to swim the English Channel both ways in 15 hours 26 minutes and was nicknamed ‘Torpedo Tom’. In 1951, he swam the first leg of an abandoned double-crossing in 18 hours 42 minutes. In 1947, he became the first man to swim the Irish Channel from Donghadee, Ireland to Portpatrich, Scotland in 15 hours 31 minutes. He was also the Morcambe Cross Bay Championship winner in 1935, 1936, 1937 and 1938.
Dr. Julie Bradshaw, MBE, Great Britain, 2006
Dr. Bradshaw holds 14 world records for long distance and Channel swimming dating from 1979. She was awarded MBE in New Years Honours list 2006 for “Services to swimming and charity”. Since the age of 15 years old, Dr. Bradshaw has raised many thousands of pounds for charity. The money raised from Channel swim in 1979, began the Fylde Hospice in Blackpool. She serves as a Director on the Board of The Channel Swimming Association where she is also the Assistant Secretary. Her world records include the first triple-crossing of Loch Ness in 32 hours 34 minutes in 2005, relay double-crossing of the English Channel in 19 hours 7 minutes in 2004, butterfly crossing of the English Channel in 14 hours 18 minutes in 2002, butterfly crossing of 16.8 km (10.5-mile) Lake Windermere in 6 hours 7 minutes in 1991, and a 67.5 km (42-mile) quadruple crossing of Lake Windermere in 21 hours 17 minutes.
Dr. Harry H. Briggs, USA, 1997
Dr. Briggs was the first to swim from Corsica to Sardinia in 1955 and was the first to complete a swim across Lake Erie from Sandusky, Ohio, USA to Point Pelee, Ontario, Canada in 1957 in 35 hours 55 minutes. A political science instructor known as The Paddlin’ Professor, he became the first person to swim 58 km (36 miles) across Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire, USA. Dr. Briggs completed 43 marathon swims over the course of his career. At the age of 76, he swam 16 km (10 miles) across Lake Sunapee as a fundraiser and continues to do fundraising open water swims into his 90s.
Tamara Bruce, Australia, 2017
Tamara Bruce started her competitive marathon career at an early age. She started with the 30k International Sydney Harbour Marathon in 1991. Tamara, at 14 years old, took 12th overall and 5th female. The next year Tamara, swam the first of ten Rottnest swims beating 1991 World Champion Shelly Taylor Smith and winning the event overall with a the fastest ever crossing with a time of 4hours and 13minutes. She also competed in 1993 – 1997 and 2001 – 2004 with numerous female wins and recorded a time of 4 hours and 10 minutes which still stands as the fastest female solo crossing.
In 1992, Tamara completed the Magnetic Island Swim. She finished 2nd at the Australian Open Water 25k Championships and finished 3rd in 1994. Tamara highlight came on September 2nd 1994 in the English Channel. She recorded the 2nd fastest all-time swim of 7 hours and 53 minutes. In 1995, Tamara and her Australian team won the 25km gold medal at the Pan Pacific Championships in Atlanta.
She continues as a coach with the Australian team, as coach/handler at 2000 FINA World Championships Hawaii and then as Australian Open Water Team Manager for 2001 World Championships in Fukuoka.
Sandra Bucha, USA, 2014
Sandra Bucha was a world-class sprinter and professional marathon swimmer. Together with John Kinsella and coached by Don Watson, Bucha won the 24 Heures La Tuque in 1974 and appeared on the cover of Swimming World Magazine in the December 1969 issue. From 1973 to 1975 as she was studying at Stanford University, Bucha embarked on an unprecedented professional marathon swimming career where she completed 9 swims and finished first in all 9 races with six second-place overall finishes: 1973 Chicago Lake Front 10-mile professional marathon swim: 1st woman, 2nd overall (to Johann Schans), 1974 Chicago Lake Front 10-mile professional marathon swim: 1st woman, 2nd overall (to John Kinsella), 1974 24 Heures La Tuque 24-hour non-stop relay with John Kinsella: 1st place in new world record, 1974 Traversee Internationale du Lac St-Jean: 1st woman, 3rd overall to John Kinsella and Veljko Rogošić, 1974 Laval 10-mile professional marathon swim: 1st woman, 2nd overall to John Kinsella, 1975 Chicago Lake Front 10-mile professional marathon swim: 1st woman, 2nd overall (to John Kinsella), 1975 24 Heures La Tuque 24-hour non-stop relay with John Kinsella: 1st place, 1975 Traversee Internationale du Lac St-Jean: 1st woman, 2nd overall to John Kinsella, 1975 Laval 10-mile professional marathon swim: 1st woman, 2nd overall to John Kinsella.
She is also an inductee in the International Swimming Hall of Fame (2014).
Peggy Buchse, Germany, 2003
Peggy Buchse won the German National Championship 5 km (3.1 miles) and tried the 25 km (15.5 miles) at the European Open Water Swimming Championships. She eventually won two European 25 km (15.5-mile) Championships and placed as second in the FINA World Open Water Swimming Championships. She also won 14 races on the FINA Marathon Swimming Cup Series.
Tom Burgess, Great Britain, 1983
Tom Burgess, who was a 1900 Olympic swimmer, became the second man to swim the English Channel in 22 hours 35 minutes in 1911 on his 14th attempt.
Karen Burton, USA, 1999
Karen Burton won 6 USA Swimming national championships, including three 15 km (9.3-mile) races and one 25 km (15.5-mile) race, and a bronze medal in the FINA World Swimming Championship 25 km (15.5 miles) in 1991. She won a FINA World Cup race in Lac St-Jean in Canada in 1992, and was a two-time world professional marathon swimming champion in 1996 and 1997. She set the record for the Catalina in 7 hours 43 minutes in 1994 and swam the English Channel in 9 hours 4 minutes in 1993. She was on USA Swimming National Team on its record-setting English Channel relay of 6 hours and 52 minutes in 1990. She also served as the USA Swimming Open Water Swimming Coordinator for four years.
Lord George Gordon Byron, Great Britain, 1982
Lord Byron was one of the earliest pioneers of open water swimming. On 3 May 1810, Lord Byron swam the Hellespont, emulating the legendary Greek Leander. Byron swam 6.4 km (4 miles) in one hour ten minutes. He also swam in the length of the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy.
Maria Luisa Cabañeros Sanchez de Leon, Spain, 2008
Maria set three Strait of Gibraltar records from Spain to Africa, from Africa to Spain and a double-crossing. She competed in professional marathon swims in Italy, Argentina, Canada, USA, Macedonia, Brazil and Mexico.
Alfredo Camarero, Argentina, 1978
Alfredo Camarero twice swam the English Channel. He won the Billy Butlin International Channel race from France to England in 11 hours and 43 minutes in 1959 and the 1960 race from France to England in 12 hours 23 minutes. He also won the 36 km (22.5-mile) Around the Island Swim in Atlantic City, USA in 12 hours 17 minutes in 1957.
Pedro A Candiotti, Argentina, 1965
Pedro A. Candiotti, known as the “Shark of Quilla Creek”, swam from 1922 to1946, primarily in Argentina rivers including a 390 km (242-mile) swim between March 14 and 17, 1930 from Goya to Santa Fe in a total time of 66 hours and 15 minutes down the River Plate. He tried 17 times to swim 328 km (204 miles) from Rosario to Buenos Aires in Argentina, but failed with his last attempt of 74 hours 30 minutes. His longest swim was 84 hours in length when he swam 452 km (281 miles) down the Parana River from Santa Fe to Zarate in Argentina.
Marian Cassidy, USA, 1997
During her five years on the professional circuit, Marian Cassidy never finished lower than third and won several major championships. In 1992, she finished a second to Shelley Taylor-Smith in the overall world rankings and set the record at the 32 km (20-mile) Maratona del Golfo – Capri-Napoli Swim. In 1990, she was appointed as a USA Swimming Open Water National Team Coach and developed many excellent marathon swimmers. She escorted several swimmers at the World Championships and other major events.
Sid Cassidy, USA, 2005
As a swimmer, Sid Cassidy was ranked fourth as a professional marathon swimmer in 1979. He swam several 36 km (22.5-mile) Around-the-Island Marathon Swims in Atlantic City, USA and competed in professional marathon races in Chicago, Canada and Egypt. He both coached and swam on a record-setting double-crossing of the English Channel by the USA Swimming National Team in 1990. He served as the USA Swimming National Open Water Coach for five years, was race director for six international marathon swims and the FINA Open Water World Cup events at Atlantic City, USA. Sid’s greatest influence in the sport has been achieved as a result of his work as chairman of the FINA Technical Open Water Swimming Committee where he has oversight of the FINA 10K Marathon Swimming World Cup circuit, the FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix series and the FINA World Open Water Swimming Championships. Under his leadership, marathon swimming was added to the Olympic program at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and 2012 London Olympics. He was the official starter of the first Olympic 10K Marathon Swim at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and has helped standardize and professionalize the judging and staging of marathon swims around the world. Sid received highest award by USA Swimming in 2009.
Cavill Family, Australia, 1967
The Cavill Family consists of two generations of six colorful champion swimmers (1897 – 1938) who promoted swimming and set national and regional records. Fred (Father):Royal Humane Society, received four medals for life saving; missed completing English Channel swim by 50 yards when boatman refused to land at night. Ernest: World record holder in the 1000-yard freestyle and “World Title” series winner in England against American champion McCusker. Charles: First man to cross the Golden Gate. Percy: Won 4 Australian National Championships and set world records in the 440 yards and 5-mile freestyle. Taught swimming for 15 years in America; Arthur: Stunt swimmer who crossed rivers with both hands and feet tied. He died from exposure, attempting to swim across Seattle Harbor. Syd: Won 1 Australian Championship and coached at San Francisco Olympic Club. Dick: Won 18 Australian titles and 2 English titles. Toured America as Father Neptune in a stage act and was influential in the development of independent arm stroke and leg kick of the crawl stroke. Died of a heart attack during a swimming demonstration in 1938.
They were also inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame (1970).
Florence Chadwick, USA, 1966
Florence Chadwick was a typist and swimming coach from California. At 32 years old, she became the first woman to swim from England to France in 1951. It is reported that she swum from Cap Gris Nez, France to South Foreland, England in 1950. Her three England-to-France swims each set a record for the fastest time, including her 16 hour 22 minutes crossing in 1951, her 1953 crossing and her 13 hours 55 minute crossing in October, 1955. On her last three successful swims she also attempted a double-crossing, but gave up on the return leg on each occasion. In 1952, she also successfully crossed the Catalina Channel in 13 hours 45 minutes.
She is also an inductee in the International Swimming Hall of Fame (1970).
Anne Chagnaud, France, 1998
Anne Chagnaud was the dominant female swimmer in the early 1990s. She won every race on the professional circuit and placed high at the FINA World Championships. She also won the 25 km European Open Water Swimming Championships in 1993.
Anne Cleveland, USA, 2010/11
After Cleveland being pulled from the water in her first channel swim attempt at the age of 43 in the Catalina Channel, Anne Cleveland has come back from that disappointment in victorious fashion. Cleveland has crossed the Maui Channel (4:09 in 2000 and 5:22 in 2001), the Catalina Channel Normal (10:15 in 2001), the English Channel (12:32 in 2002, a two-way in 28:36 in 2004 and 11:33 in 2007) and the Pacific Swim 10K in Fiji (2:41 in 2008). She became the oldest person, at the age of 48, to make a two-way crossing of the English Channel for which she received the Channel Swimming & Piloting Federation Award for the Most Meritorious Swim by a Woman. She has also participated in a two-way Catalina Channel relay (2000), a one-way Catalina Channel relay (2003), a 52°F (11°C) relay swim in the Haro Straits in Canada, and relay swims in San Diego. Anne served as President of the La Jolla Cove Swim Club (2001-2002), as a volunteer Observer for the Catalina Channel Swimming Federation and served as an Official Observer on English Channel swims in 2002 and 2004.
Jose Cortinas, Cuba, 1967
Jose Cortinas completed a 28 hour 55 minute crossing of the Catalina Channel in 1952.
Christine Cossette, Canada, 1982
In 1984, Christine, a 22-year old Canadian swimmer, became the first person to complete a 64 km (39.7-mile) double-crossing of lac St-Jean in Quebec, Canada in 18 hours and 27 minutes, leading to an annual double-crossing race from 1985 to 1989. After completing the first leg in 9 hours and 29 minutes, she swam the second leg in 8 hours and 59 minutes.
Robert Cossette, Canada, 2004
Despite being crippled in one leg by polio, Robert participated in the 32 km (19.8-mile) Traversée internationale du lac St-Jean from 1955 to 1965, the 32 km (19.8-mile) Traversée de la Manche from Angleterre – France, the 51 km (32-mile) Traversée du Lac Ontario (Marathon de Brading), the Ste-Anne de Beaupré, the 70 km (44-mile) Montréal swim, the 35K (22-mile) Around Atlantic City Swim, the 16 km (10-mile) Trois-Rivières Swim, the Marathon de l’Expo de Toronto, the Lac Simon Swim, the Détroit de Juan de Fuca and La Gilman Chibougamau Swim. He was the first person to swim 37 km (23 miles) from Chicoutimi to Bagotville in the Saguenay River in Canada that resulted in the annual la Descente ou remontée du Saguenay numerous times. He was president from 1973 to 1988 of the Marathon du Saguenay and trained several swimmers for la Traversée internationale du lac St-Jean and 37 km (23-mile) la Descente du Saguenay.
James “Doc” Counsilman, USA, 1981
Doc was the world-renowned coach from the University of Indiana who became the oldest man to cross the English Channel in 1979. His well-documented effort made headlines and brought marathon swimming to the attention of the entire world.
He is also an inductee in the International Swimming Hall of Fame (1976) and receive the Buck Dawson Authors Award and 1990 Gold Medallion.
Abilio Couto, Brazil, 2001
Abilio Couto swam from France to England and, with only 14 days rest, swam the other way from England to France in 12 hours and 49 minutes to set a world record in 1959. He was the first Brazilian and the South American to swim the English Channel. He won eight International Long-Distance Swimming Federation events from 1959 to 1975 and was the four-time overall champion in 1959, 1961, 1963 and 1967. He was instrumental in the establishment of the first Brazil National Open Water Championships and many other events including the 25 km (15.5-mile) Ilhhabella-Caraguatauba swim. He swam the English Channel three times including his 1959 England-to-France record. He unofficially crossed the Catalina Channel in 1968 as well as the Strait of Gibraltar in 1965, Lake Michigan in 1965, the Suez Canal in 1974, the Nile River in 1975, Mar del Plata in 1960 and Lake Ontario in 1960. It is estimated that Abilio swam more than 40,000 km (28,854 miles) during his career.
Lynne Cox, USA, 1982
In 1971, at age 14 Lynne Cox swam across the Catalina Channel in 12 hours 36 minutes. In 1972, she swam across the English Channel, setting a men’s and women’s records in 9 hours 57 minutes. In 1973, she re-set the English Channel records in 9 hours 36 minutes. In 1974, she broke the men’s and women’s records across the Catalina Channel in 8 hours 48 minutes. In 1975, she became the first woman to swim across the Cook Strait between the North and South Islands of New Zealand in 12 hours 2 minutes. In 1976, she broke the men’s and women’s record for swimming the Oresund between Denmark and Sweden in 5 hours 9 minutes. She broke the men’s and women’s record for swimming across the Kattegut between Norway to Sweden in a time of 6 hours 16 minutes. In 1976, she became the first person to swim across the 42°F waters of the Strait of Magellan in 1 hour 2 minutes. In 1977, she became the first person to swim between three of the Aleutian Islands and the first person to swim 12.8 km (8 miles) around the Cape of Good Hope in a time of 3 hours 3 minutes.
In 1980, she swam around Joga-shima Island in Japan. In 1983, she swam across the three Lakes of New Zealand’s Southern Alps. In 1984, she swam across 12 major waterways across the U.S. In 1985, she swam ‘Around the World in 80 Days’ by swimming 12 extremely challenging waterways some that had never been attempted. In 1987, she became the first person to swim across the Bering Strait between the Big Diomede Island and the Little Diomede Island in 40°F water in 2 hours 6 minutes. In 1988, she became the first person to swim across Lake Baikal. In 1990, she completed an unprecedented crossing of the Beagle Channel between Argentina and Chile. In 1990, she swam across the Spree River between the newly united German Republics. In 1992, Cox became the first person to swim across Lake Titicaca from Bolivia to Peru. In 1994, she swam through the Gulf of Aqaba from Egypt to Israel and from Israel to Jordan. In 2002, she became the first person to swim 1.9 km (1.2 miles) in Antarctica from a ship to Neko Harbor in a time of 25 minutes in 31°F water.
She is also an inductee in the International Swimming Hall of Fame (2000) and received the Buck Dawson Authors Award – Honorable Mention for his popular book “Swimming to Antarctica”.
Francis Crippen, USA, 2010/11
26-year-old Fran Crippen was the emotional and inspirational leader of the USA Swimming National Open Water Swimming Team and a dynamic personality on the professional marathon swimming circuit that began after a successful transition from the pool. Besides his quick rise to the top echelon of professional marathon swimming, he was a personable ambassador of the sport. His love of the sport of marathon swimming was shared with fans, the media, his teammates and rivals. At the time of his tragic death during a professional marathon race, he was second in the rankings on his first full season on the FINA 10K Marathon Swimming World Cup circuit. He won six national titles in America, two FINA 10 km Marathon Swimming World Cup titles, a bronze in the 2009 World Swimming Championships 10 km, a gold in the 2007 Pan American Games 10 km, a silver in the 2010 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships 10K and finished 4th in the 2010 World Swimming Championships 10 km in a career that was cut short.
Melissa Cunningham, Australia, 2013
Melissa Cunningham well-deservedly follows in the footsteps of the truly greats in the sport of marathon swimming. As a swimmer, she won the 25 km at the 1994 World Swimming Championships in Rome and remained a stalwart on Australian National Swim Team during its heyday in the 1990′s. She represented Australia well on the international front and was always swimming well in domestic events from Magnetic Island to Townsville in 1991, 1993, 1994 and 1996. She received the Elizabeth Arden Open Water Swimmer of the Year by Swimming Australia Swimming, participated in a record-setting 19 hour 11 minute relay from Malta to Italy, and was selected as the Swimming World Magazine Female Open Water Swimmer of the Year in 1994. As an Administrator, she served as an International Chief Commentator and Media Advisor at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games 10km Marathon Swim, FINA World Championships Melbourne and 1st Asian Beach Games Bali, Indonesia. She also served on the FINA Athletes Commission FINA Technical Open Water Swimming Committee member, and as organizer, Technical Director and Meet Director where she conducted workshops at the FINA Marathon Swimming World Cup Singapore in 2006, 2007, and 2008.
She also served as the Chairman of Singapore Swimming Open Water Swimming Committee, Swimming Victoria Open Water Swimming Committee and Competition Committee and Accredited Open Water Swimming Referee Australia, Swim Squad Coach and Learn to Swim Teacher – Singapore and Australia. Cunningham is an ambassador for the McGrath Foundation where she is utilizing her passion and skills in the water to help others via the program, Every Stroke Counts.
She received The Irving Davids/Captain Roger W. Wheeler Memorial Award from the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 2014 for her contribution to the administration of open water swimming.
Silvia Beatríz Dalotto, Argentina, 2005
Silvia was the International Marathon Swimming Association world champion in 1990 after winning the Santa Fé- Coronda Marathon in Argentina, getting third in the Travesía Bahía de Todos los Santos in Brazil, the 32 km (20-mile) Maratona del Golfo – Capri-Napoli in Italy, the Lago Trasimeno Marathon in Italy and the Around the Island Marathon in Atlantic City, USA, and fifth in the 42 km (26-mile) Traversée Internationale du Lac Memphrémagog in Canada. She was the third overall in the 1991 International Marathon Swimming Association, sixth in 1992, fifth in 1993, third in 1994, third in 1995 and second in 1996.Upon completion of her marathon swimming career, Silvia received many awards and honors from the Argentine Olympic Committee and the International Olympic Committee and became a FINA Open Water Official, judging at the FINA Open Water World Championships in Barcelona and other FINA World Cup races.
She received The Irving Davids/Captain Roger W. Wheeler Memorial Award from the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 2007 for her contribution to the administration of open water swimming.
Brojen Das, Pakistan, 1965
In 1958, Brojen became the first Asian to swim across the English Channel. He crossed the English Channel six times to become King of the Channel® from 1960 to 1974, setting four records in the process. He also held the record for the fastest crossing for three years.
Penny Lee Dean, USA, 1980
Penny Lee Dean set the overall English Channel record of 7 hours 40 minutes in 1978 which stood until 1995 when one of her own swimmers broke it. Penny also set records in the Catalina Channel, from the mainland to Catalina in 7 hours 16 minutes in 1976, and from Catalina to the mainland in 8 hours 33 minutes in 1977 on her way to a 80.4 km (50-mile) double-crossing in 20 hours 3 minutes. She was the 1979 World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation’s women’s champion winning in the 42 km (26-mile) Traversée internationale du Lac Memphrémagog in Canada, the 36 km (22.5-mile) Around-the-Island Swim in Atlantic City, USA, the 34km (21-mile) Traversée internationale du Lac St-Jean in Canada, the 24-hour La Tuque relay in Canada and the Paspébiac marathon swim in Canada. She was a founding member of the Catalina Channel Swimming Federation and served as the USA Swimming National Open Water Team Coach for eight years, taking teams to the 1991 Pan Pacific Championships, 1991 World Swimming Championships, 1982 and 1990 Windermere Championships, 1990 English Channel Race, 1984 and 1989 Catalina Channel Race and coach of nine solo Catalina Channel swimmers.
She was president of the College Swimming Coaches Association of America from 1985 to 1987 and served on the NCAA Swimming Committee. She has presented numerous international clinics on marathon and open water swimming, written articles for swimming publications and authored How to Swim a Marathon with printings in 1985, 1988 and 1992, Open Water Swimming, a how-to manual, and History of the Catalina Swims in 1985. She was the meet director for the US Swimming Open Water 1984 International Invitational held in California. Penny authored four books on open water swimming and on this basis was presented with the Buck Dawson Authors Award by the International Swimming Hall of Fame. She is also an honoree of the International Swimming Hall of Fame (1996).
Diego Degano, Argentina, 1995
Diego Degano was a professional marathon swimmer in the 1990’s. He won the 40 km (25-mile) Traversée internationale du Lac St-Jean race in 1991, was 2nd in the 1992 race in 9 hours 47 minutes and was 5th in the 1993 race in 9 hours 33 minutes.
Barrie Devenport, New Zealand, 1968
In 1962, Barrie Devenport made history as the first person in modern times to swim the 25.7 km (16 nautical miles) Cook Strait, finishing from the North Island to the South Island in 11 hours 20 minutes.
Marcos Aurelio Díaz Domínguez, Dominican Republic, 2012
Marcos Diaz is one of the world’s most prolific marathon swimmers of modern times. He completed the Swim Across The Continents, a series of marathon swims endorsed by the United Nations, and celebrated International Coastal Cleanup Day with a 22 km solo swim along the north shore of the Dominican Republic. He is one of the United Nations Development Program Goodwill Ambassadors. Marcos has also done the 81 km Bhagirathi River swim in India, won the International Crossing of the Toroneos Gulf in Greece 3 times, and competed in swims in Hong Kong, Dominican Republic, Croatia, Greece, Florida, Australia and Argentina where he did 3 pro races: Hernandarias-Parana in 88 kilometers in 9 hours 42 minutes in Argentina, Rosario Marathon in 9 kilometers in 1 hour 31 minutes in Argentina, and Santa Fe-Coronda, 57 kilometers in 8 hours 5 minutes in Argentina.
Edith van Dijk, Netherlands, 2007
Edith van Dijk won a silver in the 5 km (3.1-mile) race and bronze in the 25 km (15.5-mile) race at the 1998 World Swimming Championships and won the 10 km (6.2-mile) and 25 km (15.5-mile) races in the 2000 World Open Water Swimming Championships. She crossed the English Channel in 2003 in 9 hours and 10 minutes. She won a bronze in the 5 km (3.1-mile) and two gold medals in both the 10 km (6.2-miles) and 25 km (15.5-mile) race at the 2005 World Swimming Championships. She also won the 2001 88 km (54.6-mile) Maratón Acuática Rio Coronda. She won a bronze in the 10 km (6.2-mile) race and a silver medal in the 25K (15.5-mile) race at the 2000 World Swimming Championships. She won two silvers in the 5 km (3.1-mile) and 25 km (15.5-mile) races at the 2002 World Open Water Swimming Championships. She won a bronze in the 10 km (6.2-mile) and a gold in the 25 km (15.5-mile) race at the 2003 World Swimming Championships. She won a bronze in the 5 km (3.1-mile) and two gold medals in the 10 km (6.2-mile) and 25 km (15.5-mile) races at the 2005 World Swimming Championships.
She also won the 2000, 2001 and 2005 FINA World Cup series when she won marathon swims in Argentina, Macedonia, Canada, England the Egypt. She was named Swimming World Magazine’s Long Distance Swimmer of the Year and became the Dutch Sportswomen of the Year in 2005. Van Dijk also played a movie role in the 2006 Argentina documentary Agua, where she plays herself. She culminated her career by coming out of retirement to place 14th in the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Paolo Donaggio, Italy, 1980
Paolo Donaggio did a variety of ultra-marathon swims in Italy.
James Doty, USA, 2002
Jim Doty swam across or the length of most New Hampshire lakes and swam on the professional circuit in World Professional Marathon Swimming Association races in Chicago, La Tuque, Chiccoutimi and Rhode Island, along with two English Channel attempts. He established the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Davids-Wheeler Award in 1968, started the Boston Light Swim in 1978 and founded the New England Marathon Swimming Association in 1978 as a charity organization to study water conditions, water safety and promote swimming. Jim received The Irving Davids/Captain Roger W. Wheeler Memorial Award from the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 2002 for his contribution to the administration of open water swimming.
Robert Dowling, USA, 1970
Robert Dowling became the first person to swim the circumference of Manhattan Island in 1915 in 13 hours 45 minutes. In 1917, he competed in a 64 km (40-mile) upstream river swim in the Hudson River, USA. A few years later, as a Navy officer during World War I, Dowling proposed that swimmers set two mines into enemy harbors.
Lyndon Dunsbee, Great Britain, 1988
Lyndon Dunsbee set a France-to-England record in the English Channel in 1984 with an 8 hours 34 minute crossing along with another England-to-France crossing in 1989.
Gertrude Ederle, USA, 1963
Gertrude Ederle was once the world’s most celebrated woman for becoming the first woman to swim the English Channel in 14 hours 31 minutes in 1926. When Gertrude returned to New York City, an estimated two million New Yorkers lined the sidewalks on August 27, 1926, to heap their applause and tons of confetti on her. She toured America after her Channel record, demonstrating her freestyle in a specially built swimming tank and made cameo appearances at Billy Rose’s Aquacade at the New York World’s Fair in 1939.
At the 1924 Paris Olympic, she won a gold medal as the leadoff swimmer on the United States 4×100 meter freestyle relay to set a world record and added bronze medals in the 100- and 400 meter freestyle races. She set 29 world and American records, at distances from 100 to 500 meters before she tried to cross the English Channel in 1925 when she was disqualified when a support team member grabbed her arm to assist. In her 1926 record swim from France to England, Ederle wore a revolutionary two-piece bathing suit and personally designed wrap-around goggles, which were kept watertight with molten candle wax.
She is also an inductee in the International Swimming Hall of Fame (1965).
Jon Erikson, USA, 1981
Jon Erikson swam the English Channel from France to England in 1969 as the youngest swimmer and did a double-crossing in 1979 with his first leg as the fastest crossing of the year. He did two English-to-France crossings in 1980 and became the first person to do a triple crossing in 1981 with a historic 38 hour 27 minute effort. Erikson also did many professional marathon swims in Canada, Mexico and Argentina.
He is also an inductee in the International Swimming Hall of Fame (2014).
Ted Erikson, USA, 1978
Ted Erikson started marathon swimming at the age of 33 in 1961 when he became the first person to swim across Lake Michigan in the USA. He swam from England to France in 12 hours and 25 minutes in 1964. His career peaked in 1965 with a record double crossing of the English Channel in 30 hours 3 minutes on his third attempt. His record stood for 10 years until it was broken by his, Jon. Erikson still holds the record for swimming 50.6 km (31.5 miles) in 14 hours 35 minutes from the Farallon Islands to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, USA across frigid shark-infested waters in 1967. He participated in eight professional marathon swims in Lake Michigan USA, Atlantic City, USA, the La Tuque 24-hour relay with Dennis Matuch in Canada and the Traversée Internationale du Lac Memphrémagog in Canada. His Lake Michigan swims included a 59 km (36.75-mile) swim from Chicago, Illinois to Michigan City, Indiana, USA in 1961 in 36 hours and 37 minutes, a 80.4 km (50-mile) swim from Chicago to Kenosha, Wisconsin, USA in 35 hours 37 minutes in 1962, and a 96.5 km (60-mile) swim from Chicago to St. Joseph, Michigan, USA in 37 hours 25 minutes in 1963. He also guided four protégés across the English Channel, did a 19 km (12-mile) Chain o’ Lakes swim from Winter Haven, Florida to Cypress Gardens in 1961 and a 64 km (40-mile) pool swim (of 3,520 lengths) at Illinois Athletic Club in Chicago in 1963 in 22 hours 17 minutes.
Commander Gerald Forsberg, OBE, RN, Great Britain, 1965
Commander Gerald Forsberg competed in 211 long distance swims, logging 2,021 km (1,256 miles) in championship swims and was President of the Channel Swimming Association between 1963 and1997. Commander Forsberg was the British Long Distance Swimming Association champion in Windermere (1957‑1958), Tobray (1958), Loch Lomond (1959) and the record holder in Lough Neagh, Morecambre Bay 2-way, Windermere 2‑way, and the English Channel (record holder between 1957 and 1959 from England to France). He also set a record in the Bristol Channel in 1964 and completed over 14,162 km (8,800 miles) of swimming in open water. He was also the president of the British Long Distance Swimming Association between 1982 and 1983, president of the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame and a Life Member of the Scottish Amateur Swimming Association.
He was the author of three books, numerous articles promoting the Royal and Merchant Navy’s swimming, live saving interests and long distance swimming and was a regular columnist for the Nautical Magazine since 1957 and Swimming Times promoting long distance swimming for 40 years. His publications include Long Distance Swimming (1957), First Stokes in Swimming (1961), Modern Long Distance Swimming (1963), Salvage from the Sea (1977) and numerous short stories, articles and papers for general periodicals and technical journals. For these works he receive the Buck Dawson Authors Awards from the International Swimming Hall of Fame In 1998, he was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame as a Pioneer Contributor (1998) and received The Irving Davids/Captain Roger W. Wheeler Memorial Award in 1971 for his contribution to the administration of open water swimming.
Elizabeth Fry, USA, 2014
Elizabeth Fry set the world record for the oldest person ever to do a two-way English Channel crossing. As a member of the 24-hour club, Fry took 24 hours 39 minutes as a 52-year-old to complete her two-way crossing. She also holds the world record for – and was the first person to complete – the unprecedented double Ederle Swim, a 35-mile swim from Manhattan Island in New York to Sandy Hook, New Jersey. At the age of 50, Fry also smashed the world record for swimming clockwise around Manhattan and became the first woman to swim around Manhattan Island in that direction when she completed the course in 11:41:05, breaking the old mark by over 6 hours. Fry has also finished fifth in the 2009 Manhattan Island Marathon Swim, successfully crossed the English Channel five times since 2003, and has run 10 running marathons as well as is the long-standing race director of the 25 km St. Vincent’s Foundation Swim Across the Sound.
She has also crossed the Catalina Channel from Catalina Island to the California mainland on 2 August 2005 in 8 hours 56 minutes and the Strait of Gibraltar in a fast 3 hours 35 minutes on 6 June 2013 at the age of 55 to complete her 3 channels of the Oceans Seven. She completed the 25-mile In Search of Memphre in 2011, and was one of the top masters swimmers in the 10 km race at the 2012 Swim Across America Long Beach event on 23 September 2012 as well as the Round Jersey solo swim of 41 miles in 9 hours 33 minutes in September 2013. She also won the women’s division in the inaugural Cold Water Challenge in Connecticut on 2 November 2013.
Rosemary George, Great Britain, 2003
Rosemary George swam from England to France in 1960 in 21 hours 35 minutes. In 1961, she swam from Capri to Naples in Italy in 12 hours, 35 km (21.7 miles) in Lake Ohrid, Yugoslavia in 14 hours. In 1962, she swam from Capri to Naples again in 11 hours 30 minutes. In 1963, she swam 35 km (21.7 miles) from Jeble to Lattakia in Syria in 12 hours 30 minutes, 40 km (24.8 miles) from Montazza to Alexandria in Egypt in 15 hours, and 44 km (27.3 miles) in the Suez Canal in Egypt in 16 hours. In 1967, she swam from France to England in 17 hours 50 minutes to become the third woman to swim the English Channel in both directions. In 1969, she trained Jon Erikson, then the youngest male to swim the English Channel. In 1976, she trained Jon again when he broke his father’s double-crossing English Channel record with a time of 30 hours. In 1981, she trained Jon for the first triple-crossing of the English Channel in 38 hours and 27 minutes. She also trained a number of other successful English Channel swimmers including Father Robert Manning, the only Catholic priest to cross the English Channel in a time of 18 hours 15 minutes in 1984.
Mercedes Gleitze, Great Britain, 1969
In 1927, Mercedes Gleitze became the first English woman to swim the English Channel and did a variety of marathon swims in Europe, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. In 1923, Gleitze set a British female record of 10 hours 45 minutes for swimming in the Thames River. In 1928, she became the first person to swim the 12.8 km (8-mile) Straits of Gibraltar in 12 hours 50 minutes, starting in Tarifa, Spain and finishing in Punta Leona, Morocco. In 1929, she swam Lough Neagh in Ireland in 20+ hours. In 1930, she swam Hellespont in 2+ hours. In 1931, she swam across Galloway Bay in 19+ hours and across Sydney Harbor. She swam in Cape Town in 1932 to bring the total number of marathon swims to an incredible 51 with 25 of her swims taking at least 26 hours to complete. With the money she earned from her swims, she established the Mercedes Gleitze Home for the Homeless in Leicester, England which opened in 1933 until it was destroyed during World War II.
She is also an inductee in the International Swimming Hall of Fame (2014).
William “Bill” Goll, USA, 2010/11
Bill Goll was born about 1908, finished second in the 1930 Manhattan Island Marathon Swim and was seen as a true pioneer in the sport of marathon swimming. Over the course of his varied and three-decade career, Bill participated in nine Canadian National Exhibition swims, one of the most prestigious marathon swims of its era, between 1931 and 1954 with many top five finishes. In the later stages of his career, Bill also participated in at least five 22.5-mile swims around Atlantic City in New Jersey between 1954 and 1959, always finishing in the top 10 despite being between 47 and 51 years old. To make ends meet, he traveled as a high diver with a carnival during the Great Depression between 1935-1939. Truly an early pioneer and a rare one, doubling as a high diver. He was inducted as an Honoree Pioneer Swimmer.
Elaine Gray, Great Britain, 1971
Elaine Gray is considered to be one of the greatest British swimmers of the 1960’s and early 1970’s. Between 1962 and 1965, she won 15 consecutive British Long Distance Swimming Association and five Amateur Swimming Association Championships 8 km (5-mile) swims, the 1966 Lake Windermere International and the International Schelde Championship. In 1966, she set an all comers, amateur and women’s record for Lake Windermere. She won five British Long Distance Swimming Association Lake Windermere 16 km (10-mile) Championships, four Torbay Championships and the British Long Distance Swimming Association 20.9 km (13-mile) Fleetwood to Morecambe Championship. In 1967, she set a new France-to-England record across the English Channel.
Christopher Green, Great Britain, 2012
Christopher Green participated in marathon swims as a competitor around the world, served as an administrator, and was an innovator and pioneer. He completed swims across all 16 lakes in the Lake District in England in 2000. He has crossed Morecambe Bay north of Blackpool, England 51 times. He swam across the Strait of Gibraltar in a cage, swum in Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and 23 times across Windermere, England. He swam 26 miles around Walney Island, 16 across Lake Zurich in Switzerland, 10 miles around Robben Islands, 16 miles from Capri to Napoli in Italy, swum around Manhattan Island, done the Swim Around Key West in Florida, and swam 35 miles from Sombrero Key to Alligator Reef in Florida.
Ashby “Bud” Harper, USA, 1984
In 1982, Bud Harper became the oldest swimmer to swim the English Channel in 12 hours 52 minutes at 65 years and 332 days. He also swam the Santa Barbara Channel in 1984 and around 48 km (28.5 mile) Manhattan Island Marathon Swim in 1983 (9 hours 3 minutes), 1990 (8 hours 57 minutes) and in 1991 (9 hours 24 minutes).
Lilian Harrison, Argentina, 1973
Lilian Harrison was the first person to swim 42 km (26 miles) across the River Plate from Uruguay to Argentina in 1923 at the age of 20. In 1925, she won the 42K (26-mile) Seine River race that ended in Paris and attempted a valiant swim in the English Channel.
Ishak Helmy, Egypt, 1980
Ishak Helmy was the ninth person to successfully cross the English Channel in 1928 when he swam from France to England in 23 hours 40 minutes. He also helped rescue Lilian Harrison on her English Channel attempt in 1925.
Tom Hetzel, PhD, USA, 1980
From 1968 to 1972, Tom Hetzel was an internationally ranked marathon swimmer and swum the English Channel eight times as a solo swimmer and captained six relay crossings that set three new records. He swam the 34 km (21-mile) Traversée internationale du Lac St-Jean professional race in Canada, the 32 km (20-mile) Aswan High Dam, 48.2 km (30 miles) in Baja California, 48.2 km (30 miles) from Point Lookout in New York, twelve Manhattan Island Marathon Swims and coached Doc Counsilman on his English Channel swim.
Dr. Harry Huffaker, USA, 2010/11
Dr. Harry Huffaker is a pioneer in swimming the dangerous channels in Hawaii. Throughout his illustrious career in the pre-GPS era, Dr. Huffaker has faced sharks, jellyfish, massive ocean swells and strong currents during unprecedented swims in the tropical waters of Hawaii. During his 1967 Molokai Channel swim, Dr. Huffaker saw a large shark underneath him and immediately headed for his escort boat, but the shark then swam between him and his boat, which was too far away for an easy escape. He continued on and ultimately reached his goal after 16 hours. Dr. Huffaker was the first person to cross the 30-mile Alenuihaha Channel in 20 hours between the Big Island of Hawaii and Maui in 1970 after his initial failure of 17 hours. He crossed from Molokai to Oahu in 1967 and was the first person to cross between Oahu to Molokai in 1972 after a failed 20-hour attempt when he ran into strong currents, a tiger shark and a brood of Portuguese Man-o-War.
At the age of 50 in 1989, he swam from Lanai to Maui, then Maui to Molokai, then attempted to complete his final Molokai-to-Maui leg before being pulled after 18 hours. He has swum the Maui Channel three times, is the first person to cross the 9.3-mile Kalohi Channel (1989) from Molokai to Lanai, has crossed the 8.5-mile Palilolo Channel from Maui to Molokai (1989). A lifetime of success that followed some dramatic failures has proven Dr. Huffaker to be a true pioneer of Hawaiian Islands channel swimming community.
Chad Hundeby, USA, 1996
Chad Hundeby won the 1991 world 25 km championships and set the Channel Swimming Association record for a one-way English Channel crossing in 7 hours 17 minutes in 1978. Hundeby was honored as the Open Water Swimmer of the Year by the USA Swimming in 1991, 1993 and 1994. He also won numerous marathon swims around the world and also set a Catalina Channel record in 1993 in 8 hours 14 minutes.
He is also an inductee in the International Swimming Hall of Fame (2012).
Carole Hunt, Great Britain, 1994
Carole Hunt and her sister Sarah became the first twins to swim in English Channel in 1988 in 9 hours 29 minutes.
Sarah Hunt, Great Britain, 1994
Sarah Hunt and her sister Carole became the first twins to swim in English Channel in 1988 in 9 hours 29 minutes.
Horacio Iglesias, Argentina, 1967
Horacio Iglesias, known as Dorado, was the World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation world champion in 1967, 1969, 1971 and 1972. He was runner-up in 1968 and 1970. He won the 24-hour La Tuque relay swim six times with three different partners, including Egypt’s Abou-Heif and Holland’s Judith DeNys. He also won the 34 km (21-mile) Traversée internationale du Lac St-Jean professional race in Canada in 8 hours 55 minutes in 1967, in 9 hours 31 minutes in 1968, in 9 hours 32 minutes in 1969, in 8 hours 39 minutes in 1971 with a second in 1970, and excelled in the warm-water professional swims in South America. He won the 37 km (23-mile) la Descente ou remontée du Saguenay in 6 hours and 3 minutes in 1967 and was fifth in 9 hours 22 minutes in 1968. He was also honored by the International Swimming Hall of Fame as an Honor Open Water Swimmer (2003).
Larisa Dmitriyevna Ilchenko, Russia, 2012
Larisa Ilchenko was the gold medalist in the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Identified as a world-class swimmer with greater potential in the open water than the pool at the age of 14, she regularly won her races with a classic come-from-behind victory sprint over the last 100 meters. Throughout her remarkable career, the Russian open water swimming star won eight World Championships between 2005 and 2008 and culminated her career at the 2008 Beijing Olympics at age 19. She was been named Swimming World Magazine’s World Female Open Water Swimmer of the Year and dominated the elite open water swimming world since her first FINA World Open Water Swimming Championships in 2004, where she won the 5K at the age of 16.
At the 2005 FINA World Swimming Championships in Montreal, she won the 5 km again. At the 2006 FINA World Open Water Swimming Championships in Napoli, Italy, she doubled up with victories in the 5 km and 10 km, again winning with her trademark closing sprint. By 2007 and 2008, the juggernaut was firmly established and she confidently swaggered her way onshore while dominating the last part of every race she swam. Her career culminated at the 2008 Beijing Olympics 10 km Marathon Swim when she won the first gold in open water swimming in very dramatic fashion.
She is also an inductee in the International Swimming Hall of Fame (2016)
Helge Jensen, Denmark, 1970
Helge Jensen swam the English Channel in 13 hours 17 minutes in 1959 in the Butlin International race and set a record in the English Channel from England to France in 10 hours and 23 minutes in 1960 that stood for 12 years. He won the 1959 34 km (21-mile) Traversée internationale du Lac St-Jean professional race in Canada and finished second in the 1958 race.
Peter Jurzynski, USA, 2005
Peter Jurzynski made 18 attempts at the English Channel with 14 successes with plans to attempt once per year for as long as he is able to make an honest attempt. He has also swum the Boston Harbor swim numerous times.
Britta Kamrau, Germany, 2008
Britta Kamrau has won over 25 FINA World Cup and Grand Prix races and European and world championship races at both 10 km (6.2-mile) and 25 km (15.5-mile) distances. She won the 2007 world 25 km (15.5-mile) championships and silvers in the 2003 and 2005 world 25 km (15.5-mile) championships. She also won a bronze at the 2005 world 10 km (6.2-mile) championship and a bronze in the 2003 world 5 km (3.1-mile) championships. She also won 3 gold medals in the 5 km (3.1-mile), 10 km (6.2-mile) and 25 km (15.5-mile) European Open Water Championships in 2004.
Ted Keenan, Ireland, 1984
Ted Keenan was the first Irishman to swim the English Channel in 1972 and crossed the Irish (North) Channel in 1973 in 8.8-11°C (48-52°F) waters. In 1975, he completed a triple crossing of the Bristol Channel from Glen Cove on the English Coast to Coney Beach at Portcrawl, Wales in a record time of 14 hours and 26 minutes. Keenan also completed several charity swims in the Aid of Cancer Research, and the physically and mentally handicapped.
James Kegley, USA, 1991
James Kegley was a prominent professional marathon swimmer in the 1980’s. He won the 1980 La Tuque 24-hour Marathon with Paul Asmuth and placed in the top three at the 35.4 km (22-mile) Sydney Harbor Marathon Swim, 35.4K (22-mile) Around-the-Island Marathon Swim in Atlantic City, USA, the 32 km (20-mile) Traversée internationale du Lac Memphrémagog in 7 hours and 11 minutes in 1980 in Canada and other marathon swims in Argentina, Italy and Italy. He won the 57 km (36-mile) Santa Fe-Coronda river swim in Argentina in 7 hours 59 minutes in 1987.
Dr. Vicki Keith, Canada, 2003
Vicki Keith completed an incredible number of record swims including swimming 69 km (43 miles) in a pool in 24 hours in 1990. During 1989, she swam butterfly across the 35 km (22-mile) Catalina Channel in 14 hours and 53 minutes, 51.5 km (32 miles) of butterfly in 31 hours across Lake Ontario, 28.9 km (18 miles) of butterfly in 13 hours in Lake Winnipeg, 32 km (20 miles) of butterfly in 14 hours in Juan de Fuca, 23 hours and 33 minutes of butterfly across the English Channel, and 22.5 km (14 miles) of butterfly in 13 hours and 30 minutes in a circumnavigation of Sydney Harbour. During 1988, Vicki first and only person to swim across all five of the North American Great Lakes – all within an astounding 61-day period. She swam 51.5 km (32 miles) in Lake Ontario in 23 hours and 30 minutes, 38.6 km (24 miles) of butterfly in Lake Ontario, 32 km (20 miles) in 17 hours in Lake Superior, 72.4 km (45 miles) in 53 hours in Lake Michigan, 77 km (48 miles) in 46 hours and 55 minutes in Lake Huron, and 32 km (20 miles) in 20 hours in Lake Erie. During 1987, Vicki did the first double-crossing (64 miles) of Lake Ontario in 56 hours 10 minutes. In 1986, she did a 129 hour 45 minute continuous pool swim in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. In 1985, she did a 100-hour continuous pool swim in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. In 1985, she did 12 miles of butterfly in 11 hours 30 minutes in Lake Ontario. Keith has won numerous awards and honors from dozens of government agencies in Canada. She coaches children with disabilities, Carlos Costa, a double leg amputee who became the first disabled athlete to swim across Lake Ontario, and Ashley Cowan, a quadruple amputee who swam across Lake Erie. Herpositive spirit and tireless dedication has changed attitudes towards total inclusion for children with disabilities in the sports of swimming and marathon swimming.
Annette Kellerman, Australia, 1965
Annette Kellerman was the first woman to attempt to swim the English Channel in 1905, but failed on three occasions. She won numerous swimming titles in the Thames, the Danube, Boston Harbor and the Seine River between 1905 and 1907 and became one of the pivotal figures in the history of swimming because she was instrumental in the evolution of women’s swimwear and famous for her advocacy of the right of women to wear a one-piece bathing suit, which was a controversial topic in the early 20th century. Her life story inspired the MGM classic Million Dollar Mermaid starring her heir apparent Esther Williams. She was also inducted in the International Swimming Hall of Fame (1974) and received the Buck Dawson Authors Award – Honorable Mention.
Otto Kemmerich, Germany, 1968
Otto Kemmerich was a German Olympic swimmer. In 1925, Otto swam 36 miles in 22 hours 56 miles across the Bay of Danzig in the Baltic Sea in 43 hours 15 minutes from Fehmarn Island to Warnemünde in 1928. In 1928, he set a 46-hour endurance record when he completed several thousand laps of a 44-foot basin.
Jerry Kerschner, USA, 1978
Jerry Kerschner was a prominent professional marathon swimmer from 1946 to 1954. In 1948, he won a 12-mile swim in Lake George, New York, and the famous 10-mile Canadian National Exhibition swim in Toronto. He repeated his victory in the 1951 Canadian National Exhibition swim where he frequently competed. Known as the ‘Champ of the Gulf Coast Waters’ and the self-proclaimed ‘America’s Travelin’ Swim Coach’, he won several long-distance swims along the Gulf Coast every year.
John Kinsella, USA, 1978
John Kinsella completely dominated the professional marathon swimming circuit in the 1970’s after winning a silver medal in the 1500-meter freestyle at the 1968 Olympics and a gold medal in the 800-meter freestyle relay. He started the decade by winning the Amateur Athletic Union’s James E. Sullivan Award for America’s outstanding amateur athlete and ended the decade by winning a professional English Channel race in 1979. He won every major professional marathon swimming race he entered, including the 32 km (20-mile) Traversée internationale du Lac St-Jean professional race in 7 hours 54 minutes in 1974, in 7 hours 36 minutes in 1975, in 7 hours 18 minutes in 1976, in 7 hours 32 minutes in 1977, in 7 hours 13 minutes in 1978 and in 7 hours 1 minute in 1979. For his pool swimming prowess, he was also inducted in the International Swimming Hall of Fame as an Honor Swimmer (1986).
Yuri Kudinov, Russia, 2009
Yuri Kudinov won the 25 km at the 2000 World Open Water Swimming Championships, 2001 World Swimming Championships, the 2002 World Open Water Swimming Championships, the 2003 World Swimming Championships and the 2007 World Swimming Championships as well as the silver medal in the 2004 World Open Water Swimming Championships and at the 2006 World Open Water Swimming Championships as well as a bronze at the 2008 World Open Water Swimming Championships. He also competed in the 2012 London Olympics 10 km marathon swim.
Irene Van der Laan, Netherlands, 1985
Irene van der Laan was the first person to win the Rolex watch two times for the fastest swim of the year in 1982 and 1983. She also swam the English Channel in 1979 and did a double-crossing in 1983 with a new record and fastest swim of the year on her first leg. She was the first women in several events on the World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation circuit in the 1980’s and was still swimming in major international events until 2001, including the 64 km (40-mile) Traversée internationale du lac St-Jean in 19 hours 5 minutes in 1986, the 64 km (40-mile) Traversée internationale du lac St-Jean in 18 hours 15 minutes in 1987, the 64 km (40-mile) Traversée internationale du lac St-Jean in 19 hours 47 minutes in 1988, the 40 km (25-mile) Traversée internationale du lac St-Jean in 10 hours 54 minutes in 1990, the 40 km (25-mile) Traversée internationale du lac St-Jean in 11 hours and 50 minutes in 1991, and the 40 km (25-mile) Traversée internationale du lac St-Jean in 11 hours 20 minutes in 1997. She is also an inductee in the International Swimming Hall of Fame (2015).
Régent Lacoursière, Canada, 1978
Régent “Johnny” Lacoursière placed 5th in the 22-mile Atlantic City pro race in his first marathon swim as a 19-year-old. He continued his marathon swimming career until 1975. In 1959, Regent won the 42 km swim in Guayamas, Mexico, finishing in 8 hours 22 minutes. He won the 1960 Traversée Internationale du lac St-Jean in 9 hours 30 minutes and completed 15 consecutive crossings of lake St-Jean from 1958 – 1975. He won the Three Rivers marathon swim in Quebec in 1959, 1960 and 1964 and was first in the 24 Heures La Tuque in 1965, 1966 and 1967. He won the 10-mile Northumberland Straits in 1963 in 7 hours 9 minutes, the 10-mile Lake Ontario swim in 1965 in 5 hours 10 minutes, the 32-mile Mar del Plata in Argentina in 1966 in 17 hours 28 minutes and was second in the 14-mile Rhode Island marathon in 7 hours 36 minutes. He also competed in the 1966 Capri-Napoli professional marathon swim.
Annemie Landmeters, Belgium, 1991
Annemie Landmeters was the fastest female swimmer across the English Channel in 8 hours 39 minutes in 1988.
Carlos Larriera, Argentina, 1969
Carlos Larriera won the professional 57 km (36-mile) Santa Fe-Coronda river swim in Argentina in 8 hours in 1961 and in 11 hours 38 minutes in 1962 and was fourth in 1963 and fifth in 1965. He was second in the 32 km (20-mile) Traversée internationale du Lac St-Jean professional race in 9 hours 53 minutes in 1960.
Stéphane Lecat, France, 2007
Stéphane Lecat was the premier professional marathon swimmer in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. He was the FINA World Cup Series champion in 1997, 1999 and 2000. He won the 2000 European 25 km (15.5-mile) championship and 15 km (9.3-mile) Mediterranean Championship in 1997. He won the 34 km (21-mile) Traversée internationale du lac St-Jean professional marathon swim in Canada in 1996, 1999, and 2000; the 57 km (36-mile) Rio Corondo in Argentina in 1996, 1997, 1999 and 2000, the 42 km (26-mile) Traversée Internationale du Lac Memphrémagog swim in Canada in 1995, 1996 and 2000 and the 36 km (22.5-mile) Around-the-Island Marathon Swim in Atlantic City, USA in 2001.
He won 13 FINA World Cup professional races, placed third at the 2001 FINA World 25 km Championships in Japan and won the 2000 European 25K Championships in Finland, second in the 1997 European 25 km Championships in Spain and third in the 1995 European 25 km Championships in Italy. He also swam the English Channel in 8 hours 19 minutes in 2003.
May Looney, USA, 1984
May Looney was an accomplished marathon swimmer during the 1930’s Great Depression era and the late 1940s. May participated in the 5-10 mile Canadian National Exhibition swims between 1930-1937 and 1947-1948 when it was considered the premier marathon swimming event for women of that era (note: the race was not held between 1938-1946). May finished in the top five in 9 of 10 races, winning the race and setting a record in 1934 with 3 second-place finishes (1935, 1936 and 1948) and 3 third-place finishes (1932, 1937 and 1947). She also coached her niece, Bernice Looney, who was crowned the US Junior National Distance Champion in 1942 and who won the 1947 and 1948 Canadian National Exhibition swims. May and her niece competed together at the Canadian National Exhibitions in 1947 and 1948.
Sunny Lowry, Great Britain, 2008
Sunny Lowry was honored posthumously after being president of the Channel Swimming Association between 2000 and 2007. After two unsuccessful attempts, Sunny completed the English Channel in 15 hours and 41 minutes in 1933 becoming the seventh woman and fifteen person overall to conquer the English Channel.
Cliff Lumsdon, Canada, 1969
Cliff Lumsdon was one of the world’s great marathon swimmers and a five-time world champion between 1949 and 1954. He was known for his ability to swim in cold water, once going 51.5 km (32 miles) in 18-plus hours in water temperatures ranging between 8.8° – 11.1°C (48°F – 52°F). Cliff’s most famous swim was the 51.5 km (32-mile) Canadian National Exhibition swim in 1955. The 35 starters dropped out with Cliff the only one left in the water; however, after 26 miles, he had also started to tire. The remaining 9.6 km (6 miles) involved lots of media involvement – leading local businessmen to add numerous extra items to the $15,000 first prize. One offer, involving $1 for every stroke used on the last 8 km (5 miles), added another $15,000 to the prize. Other offers involved a hunting lodge and a house. The result was that Cliff was the only finisher, with prizes, gifts (hunting lodge and house) and consumer endorsements that totaled US$84,000. His cold-water abilities were reflected in his 1956 11 hour 35 minute crossing of the Straits of Juan de Fuca between the state of Washington and Vancouver Island in 8.8°C (48°F) water. In the 35 km (22-mile) professional Around-the-Island Marathon Swim in Atlantic City, USA, he finished second in 1954 in 9 hours 25 minutes, a close second in 9 hours 56 minutes in 1955, finished first in 9 hours 51 minutes in 1956, second in 12 hours 9 minutes in 1958, first in 10 hours 54 minutes in 1959, second in 10 hours 40 minutes in 1960, third in 11 hours 36 minutes in 1961, second in 12 hours 1 minute in 1962, fourth in 12 hours 13 minutes in 1963 and fourth in 10 hours 32 minutes in 1964.
He finished third in 7 hours 22 minutes in the 37 km (23-mile) la Descente ou remontée du Saguenay in Canada in 1965 and tied for third in 6 hours 39 minutes in 1966. In the Canadian National Exhibition professional marathon swims in Toronto, he finished fifth in the 16 km (10-mile) 1948 race in 4 hours 47 minutes, first in the 24 km (15-mile) 1949 race in 7 hours 54 minutes, first in the 24 km (15-mile) 1950 race in 7 hours 18 minutes, third in the 16 km (10-mile) 1951 race in 4 hours 32 minutes, first in the 16 km (10-mile) 1952 race in 4 hours 24 minutes, first in the 16 km (10-mile) 1953 race in 4 hours 26 minutes, first in the 51.5 km (32-mile) 1955 race in 19 hours 48 minutes, fourth in the 15-mile 1961 race in 7 hours 36 minutes, second in the 24 km (15-mile) 1962 race in 7 hours and 26 minutes, and sixth in the 24 km (15-mile) 1963 race in 7 hours 58 minutes. In 1949, he won the Lou Marsh Trophy for the outstanding Canadian Athlete of the Year.
The Cliff Lumsdon Award is presented for outstanding achievement in marathon swimming in association Ontario. In 1972, Lumsdon was elected president of the World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation. He is also an inductee in the International Swimming Hall of Fame (2013).
Marcella A. MacDonald, PDM, USA, 2005
Marcy MacDonald has done eight successful English Channel crossings and is the only American woman to have completed a double-crossing of the English Channel (both in 2001 and 2004). She was booked for a triple-crossing in 2004, but was forced to retire after completing another double-crossing (11 hours 14 minutes on the first leg and 11 hours 46 minutes on the second leg). She also participated in a double-crossing English Channel relay in 2003. In the USA, she completed in the Swim Across the Sound and the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim in New York, the Boston Harbor Swim and the Egg Rock Scramble in Massachusetts, the Candlewood Lake swim in Connecticut.
Alawi Mohammed Makki Al-Ibrahim, Saudi Arabia, 1979
Alawi Makki crossed the English Channel in 1975, 1977, 1979 and 1981, completing in various professional marathon races across the English Channel against the world’s best marathon swimmers. Alawi finished third in the 1977 Arab Nations English Channel Race in 8 hours 54 minutes, and won the 1978 race in 9 hours 54 minutes. In 1979, he finished third in 9 hours 56 minutes in the jointly organized Saudi Arabian Swimming Federation and Channel Swimming Association race and fifth in the 1981 race in 10 hours 33 minutes.
Attila Mányoki, Hungary, 2016
Susie Maroney, Australia, 2005
Susie Maroney established the record for the double-crossing of the English Channel in 17 hours 15 minutes in 1991. She swam around 48 km (28.5 miles) Manhattan Island four times, winning twice in 1990 and 1994, setting a record in 7 hours 27 seconds. She did a well-publicized 180K (111.8-mile) swim from Cuba to the USA in 1996 and a 38-hour 200 km (124-mile) swim in 1999 from Cuba to Florida (that do not qualify for International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame consideration due to use of a shark cage and wetsuit). At 15, Susie was the youngest and fastest Australian to swim the English Channel. She also swam from Mexico to Cuba, secured a Guinness Book of World Records listing for the longest distance swum in 24 hours (93.6 km or 58 miles), the fastest swim in the Manhattan Island Marathon Race in 7 hours 7 minutes, the 26 km (16-mile) Lake Zurich Marathon Race in 6 hours and 3 minutes, and swimming from the Sydney Opera House at Circular Quay to Manly Wharf as a farewell swim.
Her awards include the Order of Australia, and Outstanding Achievement Award from the NSW Government. Susie is the Ambassador for the Asthma Foundation, Ambassador for Special Olympics Australia and spokesperson for the Leukemia Foundation.
Daniel Eulogio Carpio Massioti “Carpayo”, Peru, 2005
Daniel participated in the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics, 1932 Los Angeles Olympics, 1936 Berlin Olympics and 1948 London Olympics. Daniel was the first South American to cross the English Channel in 1947 and also crossed in 1951 in the Daily Mail Race in 13 hours 50 minutes. He crossed the River Plate in 1945, 1977 and 1982 when he was 72 years old. He held national titles in Chile and Argentina. The National Swimming Pool in Lima, Peru is named after him. He was the first person to cross the Strait of Gibraltar in 1948, 1977 and 1988 (when he was 78 years old). In 1947, he was awarded the Order of the Sun as a Great Master by the President of Peru and the Recognition Award by the Peruvian Institute of Sports.
Yuko Matsuzaki, Japan, 2010/11
Yuko Matsuzaki is a professional marathon swimmer with swims in several countries around the world. Matsuzaki completed two long unprecedented lake swims in Lake Cane, Florida with a 82 km swim in 29 hours 55 minutes and her longest non-stop lake swim of 83 km completed in 33 hours 24 minutes. Yuko’s long international marathon swimming career includes a number of professional swims in Serbia (the 19 km Jarak-Sabac), Greece (the 15 km Crossing of Toroeos Gulf and 16 km Trichonida Marathon in 6 hours 29 minutes and the 30 km Kalamata-Koroni Marathon Swim in 8:47 and 10:47), Argentina (the 22 km and 57 km Rosario Marathons 9 times, 88 km Hernandarias-Parana Marathon in 10:27, 10:08, 10:20, 10:47 and 11:04, the 56 km Santa Fe-Coronda Marathon Swim in 9:48 and 9:37, the 25K Mar del Plata), the USA (the 35 km Around Atlantic City Marathon Swim in 8:46, 10:17, 9:08, 9:14, 12:10, 9:26 and 9:13, the 25 km Swim Across The Sound in 7:37, 7:30, 8:33, 8:46 and 8:06, Bermuda (the 10 km Round the Sound), Canada (a double crossing of Lake Memphremagog and the 40 km Traversee du lac Memphremagog in 11:24, 13:09, 11:01 and 11:48, and 40 km lac St-Jean), Italy (the 27 km Teraccina Marathon in 9:30, the 35 km Riviera Marathon in 10:03 and the Capri-Napoli Marathon in 8:46, 9:42, 9:57 and 11:30) and the 20 km Trasimeno Marathon in 4:57), Brazil (the 27 km Tapes Marathon in 7:40 and 9:01 and 8:30), France (the 25 km Lac Du Bourget) and several 12- and 24-hour non-stop swims on behalf of the YMCA Youth Scholarship Fund.
Dennis Matuch, USA, 1977
In 1962, Dennis Matuch won the 59 km (36.75-mile) Lake Michigan swim from Chicago to Waukegan, Illinois, USA in 21 hours. In the La Tuque 24-hour Marathon Swim in Canada, he was often sought as a partner in the two-person relay, swimming with Ted Erikson, Jon Erikson, Abou Hief and Diana Nyad. In 1963, Matuch broke the established world best time for a 40 km (25-mile) pool swim in a time of 12 hours 50 minutes. He competed in the 37 km (23-mile) la Descente ou remontée du Saguenay race in 1966, 1967, 1968 and 1969. Matuch is also a leader in the administration and organization of marathon swimming. He became president of the World Professional Marathon Swimming Association and was one of the founders and chairman of the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame. He coached Penny Dean to become the women’s world marathon swimming champion on her first year on the professional circuit.
He received The Irving Davids/Captain Roger W. Wheeler Memorial Award from the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1979 for his contribution to the administration of open water swimming.
Angela Maurer, Germany, 2009
As the only mother in the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim, Angela Maurer missed the bronze medal by 0.9 seconds. She won the 2009 25 km FINA World Championships and 8 FINA World Championship medals. At the age of 35, Maurer remained active on the FINA 10K Marathon Swimming World Cup and the FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix circuits. She won 8 German national titles in 5 km, 10 km and 25 km distances as well as 2 European Open Water Swimming titles in the 10 km and 25 km distances.
Chloë McCardel, Australia, 2016
Chloë McCardel (born 10 May 1985) is an accomplished open water swimmer from Australia who has completed a total of 13English Channel crossings, including 2 two-way crossings and one three-way crossing. In 2010, she won the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim in 7:53, winning in a dramatic 5-second victory over second-place Jaime Caballero of Spain.
Linda McGill, MBE, Australia, 1968
A 1964 Olympian, Linda McGill was the first Australian swimmer to complete the English Channel (France-to-England) in 1965. She also established a new women’s record in 9 hours and 59 minutes across the English Channel in 1967. She was the first person to swim around Hong Kong Island and across Port Phillip Bay, Victoria, and from Townsville to Magnetic Island, Queensland, Australia.
Vojislav Mijić, Serbia, 2014
Vojislav Mijić is a race director and marathon swimmer who is a 2-time member of the 24-hour club. Mijić worked for three decades as a chemical engineer in his home town before turning his talents to organizing the Sabac Swim Marathon (Plivački maraton Jarak-Šabac), a race on the FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix pro circuit, and the annual Epiphany Swimming for the Holy Cross of Honour, an Epiphany swimming event of 33 meters in the Old City Beach on 19 January in his native Šabac, Serbia. He won the Sabac Swim Marathon himself in 1978 and has done hundreds of open water swims in Serbia, Macedonia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Argentina, U.S.A. (from Hawaii to New Jersey), Yugoslavia, Italy, Brazil, Czech Republic, Brazil, the Netherlands, Egypt, Syria and Greece.
As the founder and first president of the Committee for Marathon and Long Distance Swimming in the Republic of Serbia, Mijić often promotes marathon swimming all over Europe. In his native tongue, his nickname can be translated into English as “the man who swims better than he walks.” With three Guinness Book of World Records, the nickname is appropriate. He is an accomplished marathon swimmer himself having captured a bronze medal at the 1986 World Marathon Swimming Championships in the 33 km Maratona del Golfo Capri-Napoli race in Italy. From the Government of the Republic of Serbia, he received a 2008 Recognition as a Meritorious Sportsman.
Sally Anne Minty-Gravett, MBE, Great Britain, 2005
Sally Anne Minty-Gravett has crossed the English Channel five times over the course of five sequential decades. Sally swam 18.5 km (11.5 miles) across Lake Windermere in 1974 and first swam in the English Channel in 1975 in 11 hours 57 minutes to win the Captain Webb Memorial trophy for the fastest British crossing of the year. She represented Jersey in the 25.7 km (16-mile) Lake Windermere International Race in 1978, represented Great Britain in a 1976 8 km (5-mile) race in Belgium and a 25.7 km (16-mile) race in Holland 1977.
She swam 22.5 km (1 miles) from Jersey to France in 1978 and swam the English Channel for the second time in 1985 in 15 hours 3 minutes. She swam the English Channel, from France to England, for the third time in 12 hours 8 minutes and swum 65.9 km (41 miles) around Jersey in 10 hours 47 minutes, both in 1992.
Sally swam around Manhattan Island in New York in 7 hours 19 minutes and swam around Sark in the Channel Islands in 4 hours 25 minutes, both in 1999. She swam the English Channel for the 4th time in 2005 – and was inducted into the IMSHoF as an Honoree for swimming the Channel in 4 different decades…
In 2013, she swam the English Channel for the fifth time (in her and the 5th decade). She has helped train over 40 Jersey Round swimmers and 20 Jersey English Channel swimmers.
She was the first woman to swim from the Island of Sark to Jersey in the Channel Islands UK and to date is still the only woman. She has now just swum around the Island of Jersey TWICE in 72 hours – Friday 22nd July in 10hrs 36m – a personal best time in perfect conditions, and then again on Sunday 24th July in 11hrs 10mins – in challenging conditions. She is now the oldest female (59) to have completed this swim and Sally is the only female who has completed a ‘hat-trick’ of Round Jersey swims!
Attila Molnar, Hungary, 1998
Attila Molnar was crowned the International Marathon Swimming Association world champion two years in a row. He won the 36 km (22.5-mile) Around-the-Island Marathon Swim in Atlantic City, USA in 1995 and finished second in the 40 km (25-mile) Traversée internationale du lac St-Jean professional marathon swim in 10 hours 20 minutes in Canada in 1995 and third in 10 hours 30 seconds in 1996.
Magda Molnar, Hungary, 1985
Magda Molnar swam swam initially with the MUE club and after with the biggest club in Hungary at the FTC. She was a multiple national Hungarian champion who won the 12.5 km Lake Balaton Swimming Championships between Balatonfured and Siofok in 1942 in 4 hours 13 minutes and in 1943 in 4 hours 17 minutes.
Dr. Osama Ahmed Momtaz, Egypt, 2007
Dr. Osama Ahmed Momtaz received the 1986 National Award of Excellency in Sport awarded by Egyptian President Mohamed Hosni Mubarak. He won the 30 km (18.6-mile) Egyptian national championship in 1983, 1978 30 km (18.6-mile) Port-Said National Swimming Marathon, the 36 km (22.3-mile) Port-Said International Swimming Marathon in 1979, 1980, 1982 and 1983, the 28 km (17.3-mile) Ismailia International Swimming Marathon in 1980, 1981 and 1982, the 40 km (24.8-mile) Damiatta International Swimming Marathon in 1981 and the 36 km (22.3-mile) Nile International Swimming Marathon in 1981, 1982 and 1983. He participated in the 1979 Lake Windermere International Swimming Marathon, the 40.2 km (25-mile) Cyprus-International Swimming Marathon in 1980, the Sabac-International Swimming Marathon in 1981, the 40.2 km (25-mile) Venice-International Swimming Marathon in 1982, the 24 km (15-mile) Long Beach International Swimming Marathon in California, USA in 1984, the 25.7 km (16-mile) Stari-Grad International Swimming Marathon in Yugoslavia in 1984, the Cancun International Marathon Swim in Mexico in 1987, the 42 km (26-mile) Traversée Internationale du Lac Memphrémagog in Canada in 1988, the 36 km (22.5-mile) Around-the-Island Marathon Swim in Atlantic City, USA in 1988 and the 57 km (35.4 mile) Maratón Acuática International Sante Fe – Coronda Swim in Argentina in 1988. He did a 21 hour 37 minute double-crossing of the English Channel in 1984 and held various managerial positions for the Egyptian national swimming team and Egyptian Long Distance Swimming Federation.
David Morgan, Great Britain, 1983
David Morgan crossed the English Channel in 1977 (11 hours 5 minutes), 1983 (9 hours 37 minutes), 1986 (8 hours 35 minutes) and 1988. He was the first person to swim a double-crossing of Loch Ness and crossed the Catalina Channel as a member of the English Team in 1984.
Eva Morrison, USA, 1973
Eva Morrison completed her first 8 km (5-mile) swim at the age of 10 in 1918 and was a prominent marathon swimmer in the 1920’s. She swam 19.3 km (12 miles) from Boston Light Swim more than 20 times and was training to swim the English Channel at the same time as Gertrude Ederle. She won the 1935 Dover Trophy in 15 hours 55 minutes for a 28.9 km (18-mile) swim from Folkestone to Margate in the U.K. She served on the initial Board of Governors for the International Professional Swimmers’ Association when it formed in 1927.
Steven Muñatones, USA, 2002
Steven Muñatones completed five unprecedented swims in Japan. In 1989, he swam 42 km (26 miles) across Lake Biwa, Japan’s largest lake in 10 hours 36 minutes. In 1990, he completed the first double-crossing of the 19.5 km (12-mile) Tsugaru Channel from Honshu to Hokkaido in 6 hours 11 minute and 6 hours 41 minutes back from Hokkaido to Honshu. 1992, he swam across the Five Lakes of Mount Fuji, Japan in 5 hours 40 minutes, running and biking between each lake. In 1993, he swam 37 km (22.9 miles) between Ishigaki Island, Iriomote Island and Taketomi Island in Okinawa, Japan in 10 hours 16 minutes. In 1994, Munatones swam 29 km (18 miles) through hundreds of hammerhead sharks around Yonaguni Island in Okinawa, Japan in 7 hours and 8 minutes. He also swam the 36 km (22.5-mile) Around-the-Island Swim in Atlantic City, USA in 1985, the 42 km (26-mile) Traversée Internationale du Lac Memphrémagog in Canada in 1984 and 1985, the 34 km (21-mile) Traversée internationale du lac St-Jean in Canada in 1984, the 38.6 km (24-mile) Los Cabos Marathon Swim in Mexico in 1984 and the 45.8 km (28.5-mile) Manhattan Island Marathon Swim in 1984.
He won the 25 km (16-mile) International Long-Distance Swimming Championships in Lake Windermere, England in 1982 and two USA National 10-mile championships in 1982 and 1991. He coached several USA Swimming national open water swimming teams, wrote the Open Water Swimming Dictionary, wrote Open Water Swimming – Swimming Without Lines, received the 2010 Irving Davids / Captain Wheeler Award and was the NBC Olympics commentator for the first Olympic 10K Marathon Swim at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
He received The Irving Davids/Captain Roger W. Wheeler Memorial Award from the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 2011 for his contribution to the administration of open water swimming and the Poseidon Award in 2017.
Kevin Murphy, Great Britain, 1977
Kevin Murphy is the King of the Channel® for the greatest number of English Channel crossing. Incredibly, his 1999 England-to-France crossing was two hours faster than his first success in 1968. In 1970 he became the first Briton to complete a double crossing of the English Channel, which he has done three times, and set the record of 11 hours 21 minutes for crossing the Irish (North) Channel from Northern Ireland to Scotland. His English Channel swims include his double-crossing in 35 hours 10 minutes in 1970, his England-France-England swim in 1975 in 36 hours 3 minutes which was notable because he was ordered out of the water because of bad weather after swimming non-stop for 52 hours 30 minutes when he was halfway back on his third leg and his France-England-France swim in 1987 in 32 hours 42 minutes.
Kevin’s single English Channel crossings include England-France in 1968 in 15 hours 55 minutes, England-France in 1976 in 15 hours 0 minutes, France-England in 1976 in 15 hours 32 minutes, England-France in 1977 in 14 hours 5 minutes, England-France in 1977 in 14 hours 14 minutes, France-England in 1979 in 22 hours 42 minutes, England-France in 1980 in 17 hours 28 minutes for which he was awarded the Channel Swimming Association’s Endurance Trophy after swimming for 32 hours 42 minute as he was within four miles of completing a double-crossing, England-France in 1982 in 15 hours 12 minutes, England-France in 1982 in 21 hours 22 minutes, England-France in 1983 in 15 hours 29 minutes, France-England in 1983 in 15 hours 25 minutes, France-England in 1984 in 14 hours 58 minutes, France-England in 1990 in 13 hours 16 minutes in the earliest Channel swim ever on May 29th, England-France in 1991 in 13 hours 58 minutes, England-France in 1991 in 15 hours 26 minutes, England-France in 1991 in 17 hours 6 minutes, France-England in 1992 in 15 hours 5 minutes, France-England in 1993 in 14 hours and 37 minutes, France-England in 1994 in 15 hours, England-France in 1995 in 18 hours 27 minutes, England-France in 1995 in 15 hours 38 minutes, France-England in 1996 in 15 hours 30 minutes, England-France in 1997 in 15 hours 45 minutes, England-France in 1999 in 13 hours 53 minutes, England-France in 2000 in 14 hours 29 minutes, England-France in 2000 in 15 hours 10 minutes, England-France in 2005 in 13 hours 35 minutes and England-France in 2006 in 15 hours and 14 minutes for his 34th crossing. Murphy also participated in the following English Channel relays: France-England Channel Relay record in 1965 as a member of Phoenicians SC team which set the then team record of 9 hours 58 minutes, England-France Channel Relay in 1987 with the Marrow Environment Project charity team, England-France Channel Relay in 1987 with the Channel Swimming Association Diamond Jubilee Team, England-France Channel Relay in 1991 with the Daytrippers Team, England-France Channel Relay in 1992 with the Barnet Copthall SC team, England-France Channel Relay in 2006 with Hubert House men’s team.
His other relays included the Loch Ness Relay in 2000 and in 2005, the Round Jersey Relay in 2003, the Loch Lomond 2-way Relay in 2002. Kevin’s other marathon swims include the 90 km (56-mile) Round the Isle of Wight in the U.K. in 26 hours 51 minutes, the 37 km (23-mile crossing of Loch Ness in Scotland in 1976 in 10 hours 30 minutes, the 30 km (18.6-mile) Lake Como race in Italy in 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1989 and 1990, the 19.3 km (12-mile) Sydney Harbour Challenge Race in Australia in 1977 in 3 hours 20 minutes, the 77.2K (48-mile) Lake Balaton race in Hungary in 1973 in 43 hours 15 minutes, 69 km (43 miles) from Richmond to Graveland in England in the River Thames in 1980 in 17 hours 25 minutes, 40.2 km (25 miles) from Majorca to Minorca in the Spanish Balearic Islands in 15 hours 10 minutes, the Maratona del Golfo – Capri-Napoli in Italy in 1974 in 12 hours 15 minutes, the 37 km (23-mile) Nile Marathon Race in Egypt in 11 hours 9 minutes, the 9.6K (6-mile) Across the Sea of Galilee Swim in Israel, across the Bristol Channel from England to Wales, 27 km (17 miles) Skegness to Hunstanton in England in 13 hours 54 minutes in 1973 and in 7 hours 47 minutes in 1976, a 33.7 km (21-mile) double-crossing of Lake Windermere in England, 38.6 km (24-mile) Scottish ASA Championship in Loch Lomond in Scotland (where none of the other swimmers were able to finish), the 42 km (26-mile) Marathon du Saaguenay in Canada in 1988 in 7 hours 4 minutes, the Strait of Gibraltar in 2000 from Tarifa, Spain to Punta Cires, Morocco in 5 hours 18 minutes, 48.2 km (30 miles) across the Chicago Skyline from Evanston, Illinois to Hammond, Indiana in 23 hours 31 minutes. In 2007, Murphy swam 24 km (15 miles) from Valentia to Couminole Beach in Dingle Bay in Ireland in 7 hours 45 minutes, won the 3.7 km Sognfjord Swim Festival Challenge Race in Norway 1 hour 32 minutes, swam 27.5 km (17 miles) in the Aurlandsfjord, Norway in 10 hours 46 minutes, 1.5 miles from Alcatraz Island to Aquatic Park, San Francisco, 1 mile across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, 40 km (25 miles) across the Santa Barbara Channel from the Santa Cruz Island to Santa Barbara, California in 17 hours 31 minutes. Other swims include 15 hours 4 minutes across Loch Lomond in 1967 and 12 hours 53 minutes in 1979, double-crossing of Lake Windermere in 1969, 45 km (28 miles) across the Bristol Channel in 1972 from North Devon to Porthcawl in 15 hours 8 minutes, 37 km (23 miles) across Loch Ness in 1976 in 10 hours 30 minutes, 33.7 km (21 miles) across Lake Tahoe between California and Nevada, USA in 2003 in 13 hours 56 minutes, 35.4 km (22 miles) across the Catalina Channel in California in 2003 in 15 hours 23 minutes, the 45 km (28.5-mile) Manhattan Island Marathon Swim in New York in 2001 in 9 hours 2 minutes, 17.7 km (11 miles) across Lake Mergozzo in Italy in 1989, across Table Bay, Cape Town, South Africa in 1973 in 3 hours 45 minutes, a double-crossing in Table Bay between Blouberg to Robben Island in 1973, a 22 km (13.6-mile) double-crossing of Table Bay in 1987 between Three Anchor Bay to Robben Island in 10 hours and 38 minutes, a 2 hour 7 minutes crossing across Table Bay in 1987 from Robben Island to Blouberg, a 3-mile swim in Lake Bala in North Wales in 1963, 10.5-mile swim across Lake Windermere in 6 hours 29 minutes in 1964 and 6 hours 34 minutes in 1967, an 8-mile swim in Torbay (Torquay-Brixham-Torquay) in 3 hours 51 minutes in 1966, 3 hours 57 minutes in 1969, 3 hours 37 minutes in 1971, 4 hours 41 minutes in 1972, 3 hours 40 minutes in 1976, 10 miles in the Weymouth-Lulworth Cove in 1966 in 4 hours 50 minutes, 7 miles from Walton to Clacton in 1972 and 1974, 6 miles from Folkestone to Dover in 1972 in 1 hour 51 minutes, Belfast Lough from Whitehead to Bangor in Northern Ireland in 1974, from Gorey to Bouley Bay in Jersey in the Channel Islands in 1974 in 2 hours 52 minutes, from Mumbles to Aberavon in South Wales in 1976 in 2 hours 55 minutes, across Lake Windermere in 5 hours 55 minutes in 1979 and in 5 hours 45 minutes in 2006, two-way Solent between Ryde to Southsea in 3 hours 34 minutes, 8-mile Solent Challenge 2000 from Yarmouth to Gurnard on the Isle of Wight in 2 hours 45 minutes.
Kevin has completed the Irish Channel three times in total, including the harder Ireland-to-Scotland route. He swam from Northern Ireland to Scotland in 1970 in 11 hours 21 minutes to set a record that stood for 18 years with the water temperature between 8.8-13.3°C (48-56°F), from Northern Ireland to Scotland in 1971 in 14 hours 35 minutes, and from Scotland to Northern Ireland in 1989 in 17 hours 17 minutes. Murphy was inducted as an Honor Swimmer in the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 2009.
Keo Nakama, USA, 1967
Keo Nakama was the first person to swim from the island of Molokai to Oahu in Hawaii. He crossed the 43.4 km (27-mile) Kaiwi Channel in 1961 in 15 hours 30 minutes. As a pool swimmer, Keo is honored in the International Swimming Hall of Fame (1975) for his 5 gold medals in the 1940 Pan American Swimming Championships, his 27 USA national swimming titles from 110 yards to 1500 meters, his six Australian National Championships and his world record in the mile and for captaining the two NCAA Men’s Swimming Championship teams at Ohio State where he also played baseball.
Forrest Nelson, USA., 2015
Forrest Nelson is a member of the board of directors of the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame, a member of the 24-hour club, president of the Catalina Channel Swimming Federation, an Observer and support crew on dozens of Catalina Channel crossings, and a member of the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming (English Channel + Catalina Channel + Manhattan Island Marathon Swim). He has completed several other marathon swims including a Kaulakahi Channel crossing from Kauai to Niihau, a Tsugaru Channel crossing from Honshu to Hokkaido, three Molokai Channel crossings – achieved in both directions, a 23-hour double-crossing of the Catalina Channel, a 48-mile 25 hour 35 minute circumnavigation of Catalina Island (world record), the first Catalina-California Mainland-Catalina crossing by a male, a December crossing of the Catalina Channel, a Cook Strait crossing, the 24 mile Tampa Bay Marathon Swim, Anacapa Island crossing, the Palilolo Channel, starting on Maui, and an English Channel crossing in 12 hours 41 minutes. He was also a member of the six-member HTC Relay team that set a new 52-mile course record of 25 hours 48 minutes from San Clemente Island, around the western edge of Catalina Island, to the Southern California mainland at Cabrillo Beach in 2012, and the Team FTD that completed an unprecedented 6-way Catalina Channel crossing in 61 hours 7 minutes in 2013.
Marvin “Duke” Nelson, USA, 1979
Duke Nelson swam in the Des Moines River in warm and cold water and weather and specialized in swimming 24 km (15 miles) in frigid, choppy lake waters. In 1930, he won his first world championship title defeating a field of 173 at the Canadian National Exhibition Marathon Swim in Toronto in 7 hours 44 minutes, winning US$10,000 and won again in 1934. He also won the 24 km (15-mile) Lake Michigan swim in Chicago twice, finishing a half-mile ahead of the pack in 1934. In the midst of the American Great Depression, Duke’s five professional victories earned him US$30,000. Confident in his abilities, Duke bet that he would complete the first double-crossing of the English Channel and raised US$25,000 against 50-to-1 odds that he could accomplish his goal. But he never was able to achieve his goal due to the outbreak of World War II.
Marc Newman, Great Britain, 1988
Marc Newman swam the fastest English Channel crossing in 1986 and did all his four English Channel swims under 9 hours 30 minutes including his crossing in 1987, 1989 and his France-to-England crossing in 1990 that was the fastest swim by a man. He also won the amateur 34 km (21-mile) Traversée internationale du lac St-Jean in Canada in 1989.
Cynthia Nicholas, Canada, 1978
At age 16, Cindy Nicholas became the fastest swimmer to cross Lake Ontario with a time of 15 hours 10 minutes. Cindy’s career includes 19 crossings of the English Channel and the first woman to complete a double-crossing of the English Channel. Of her 19 crossings, 10 involved two-way swims, including a double-crossing record of 18 hours 51 minutes in 1982 and an England-France record of 8 hours 21 minutes on the first leg of her in 1981 double-crossing. Cindy competed in the 32 km (20-mile) Traversée internationale du Lac St-Jean races in 1976, 1977 and 1978. Her other achievements include her appointment to the Order of Canada in 1979 and the Canadian Women Athlete of the Year. She is also an inductee in the International Swimming Hall of Fame (2005).
Judith de Nijs, Netherlands, 1964
Judith de Nijs won the World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation championship between 1964 and 1968. She crossed the English Channel in 1969 and won many professional marathon races over both men and women, including the 1964 49.8 km (31-mile) Lake Ontario swim in Canada, the 1965 30.5 km (19-mile) Lake Ohrid race in 8 hours 5 minutes in Macedonia, the 1965 32 km (20-mile) Maratona del Golfo – Capri-Napoli 7 hours 4 minutes and 8 hours 35 minutes (1967) in Italy, the 1965 40 km (25-mile) Alexandrium race in the Suez Canal in 10 hours 24 minutes in Egypt, the 1966 32 km (20-mile) Traversée internationale du Lac St-Jean in 8 hours 38 minutes in Canada, the 1967 16 km (10-mile) Hamilton race in 4 hours 45 minutes in Canada, the 1968 24-hour La Tuque Relay in Canada, and the 1968 Canalswim Cape Rennes, France to Dover, England in 12 hours 15 minutes. She is also an inductee in the International Swimming Hall of Fame (2014).
Martha Norelius, USA, 1984
Martha Norelius was inducted in the International Swimming Hall of Fame for winning a gold medal in the 400-meter freestyle at the 1924 Olympics and two gold medals in the 1928 Olympics. She was suspended from amateur competition in 1929 for giving an exhibition in the same pool with professional swimmers, so she turned professional and won US$10,000 in the 16 km (10-mile) Wrigley Marathon in Toronto.
Diana Nyad, USA, 1978
Diana Nyad swam around the world for ten years, swimming 40 km (25-mile) in the Suez Canal in Egypt, 35.4 km (22-mile) in the Nile River, 51.4 km (32-mile) along the Mexican coast, 41.8 km (26-mile) in the Parana River in Argentina, 32 km (20-mile) in the Maratona del Golfo – Capri-Napoli in Italy, 49.8 km (31-mile) from St. Thomas to Virgin Gorda in the Caribbean, 80.4 km (50-mile) along the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and 51.4 km (32-mile) in Lake Ontario. The Lake Ontario swim was the first time a swimmer swam north to south from Toronto to New York as it was against the currents of the Niagara River. In 1975, she swam around Manhattan Island in New York. In 1979, she became the first person to swim from the Bahamas to Florida (North Bimini to Juno Beach). She attempted to swim from Cuba to Florida in 1978, but withdrew after 42 hours and 160 km (99.7 miles), and also twice again in 2011, but withdrew due to box jellyfish stings.
Nyad has written three books, including Other Shores, on her experiences in marathon swimming and on this basis was presented with the Buck Dawson Authors Award – Honorable Mention by the International Swimming Hall of Fame and also in 2002 with the Al Schoenfield Media Award.
David O’Brien, Australia, 2017
David O’Brien was the dominant Australian male marathon swimmer of his generation.
His domestic wins in races around the country included: The 20km Rottnest Island Marathon Swim four consecutive times from 1992-1995 including the fastest crossing record in 1992.
David was also the Australian Champion in Marathon Swimming in the following events:
- Australian Champion SLSA Surf Belt Championship 1988
- Australian Marathon 15km Swim in 1989
- Australian Champion for the 25km swim in 1990 – 1994
- Australian Champion for the 10km swim in 1992 – 1994
David also completed internationally maintaining a top 10 FINA World Ranking 1991-1995. His international wins included:
- Capri to Naples Marathon Swim in 1991 Gold Medalist
- USA Men’s 15km in Fort Lauderdale in 1991 – Gold Medalist
- FINA World Open Water Championship in Rome in 1994 – Gold Medalist
- Pan Pacific Championships in Atlanta in 1995 – Gold Medalist
- FINA World Open Water Championship – Bronze Medal in the 25km Open Water Swim in Perth in 1991.
He represented Australia in three different disciplines:
- Pool Swimming 1985
- Surf Lifesaving 1989
- Open Water Marathon Swimming 1991-1995
David was awarded the prestigious ASM – Australian Sports Medal in 2000.
Gustavo Oriozabala, Argentina, 2001
Gustavo Oriozabala finished second overall on the professional marathon swimming circuit in 1992 and third in 1995. His swims include 42 km (26-mile) Traversée internationale du Lac Memphrémagog in Canada in 1991, 1992 and 1993, 34 km (21-mile) Traversée internationale du Lac St-Jean in Canada in 1992, 1993 and 1994, the 36 km (22.5-mile) Around the Island Swim in Atlantic City, USA in 1990, 1991, 1992 and 1993, the professional 32 km (20-mile) Maratona del Golfo – Capri-Napoli in 1991, the 57 km (36-mile) Santa Fe-Coronda river swim in Argentina in 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993 and 1994, the 42 km (26-mile) Ponza-Cierco swim in Italy in 1990 and 1991, the 28 km (17.3-mile) Furth-Nurenberg swim in Germany in 1994, the 41 km (25.4-mile) Cruce Bahia de Todos swim in Brazil in 1991, the 35K (21.7-mile) Silvan Lake swim in Canada in 1993, the 88 km (54.6-mile) Hernandaras-Parana river swim in Argentina in 1993 and 1994, the 25 km (15.5-mile) Holland swim in 1995, crossed the English Channel in 1993, the 41 km (25-mile) Rio de Plata swim from Urugary to Argentina in 1993 in 27ºC (80ºF) water, the 180 km (112-mile) Parana Crossing in Argentina in 20:07, and a 47 km (29.2-mile) double-crossing of the Strait of Gibraltar in 14 hours 14 minutes. He was the first men to cross 20 km (12.4 miles) in Lake Titicaca from Peru to Bolivia in 12°C (53.6°F) in 5 hours 6 minutes 1997.
He swam 2 km in 3°C (37.4°F) for 21 minutes to become the first person to compete the Beagle Crossing from Argentina to Chile. He also completed a triple-crossing of the Beagle Crossing in 7°C (44.6°F) in 1 hour 9 minutes in 1998.
Penny Palfrey, Australia, 2009
Penny Palfrey became the second person ever to swim the treacherous, shark-infested 70 km Alenuihaha Channel from the Big Island of Hawaii to Maui in 2009 in 14 hour 51 minutes. She quickly followed up that effort with a 14.5 km (8.8-mile) swim across the Maui Channel from Maui to Lanai, becoming the first women to achieve this feat. She won the women’s division in the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim for three years in a row. She participated in the 120 km triple-crossing relay crossing of Lake Taupo, the biggest lake in New Zealand, finishing in 33 hours 33 minutes with five teammates. She was the first person to swim 64 km from Santa Barbara Island to the California mainland in 17 hours 53 minutes as well as the 27-mile (46 km) Santa Barbara Channel from San Miguel Island to the California mainland and the 10 km Santa Rosa Island to Santa Cruz Island off of the California coast. She tried twice to swim the 72-mile Kaieiewaho Channel between the islands of Oahu and Kauai in Hawaii, both times stopped by venomous stings of box jellyfish after nearly reaching halfway. She won the 2008 24-mile Tampa Bay Marathon Swim and completed an English Channel crossing in 9 hours 16 minutes in 2006 and a Strait of Gibraltar crossing in 4 hours 31 minutes in 2006 and an 8 hour 27 minute crossing of the Cook Strait in 2006.
She completed the Rottnest Channel Swim from 2000 – 2008 and was the Australian 25 km national champion in 1993 – 1994 with second in 2001 and 2007. Palfrey also attempted a 168 km crossing from Cuba to Florida across the Florida Strait in 2012, but was thwarted by powerful oncoming currents from the Gulf Stream after swimming for 41 hours 3 minutes. She completed an unprecedented 67.26-mile (108 km) swim between Little Cayman and Grand Cayman Islands in the Cayman Islands (called Bridging The Cayman Islands) that took her 40 hours 41 minutes in 2011. She has completed 6 of the 7 channels of the Oceans Seven.
David Parcells, USA, 2012
David Parcells was an American marathon swimmer who was posthumously honored by the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame. Parcells passed away in 2007 while competing in the Tampa Bay Marathon Swim in Florida. He completed the 1989 Ironman Triathlon in Hawaii. Parcells was the first non-professional swimmer to complete the Long Island Swim crossing and is the current record holder as the oldest person to complete a double-crossing of the English Channel. Parcells was the marathon swim director of the St. Vincent’s Medical Center Swim Across the Sound, which has raised over US$2 million for cancer.
George Park, Canada, 2015
George Park was a Canadian swimmer and water polo player for the Hamilton Aquatic Club. He set Canadian records in the 50 and 100m freestyle and butterfly and qualified to be a member of the 1954 and 1958 British Empire and Commonwealth Games. He anchored two 2nd place finish relays and came 4th in the 100m freestyle. He won a silver medal in the 1955 Pan American Games in Mexico City in 100m freestyle, and qualified for the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games. Park also competed in the 1968 14.1-mile race in Narragansett, Rhode Island where he encountered a Great White Shark. He also completed a 9-mile swim across the Northuberland Straits from Cape Tormintine to Borden Prince Edward Island. He competed in the 28-mile Saguenay River in 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967 and 1968 and the 16 km (10-mile) Hamilton Marathon Swim. In the 1964 race that started in Chicoutimi, Quebec, Canada, he finished in 9 hours 18 minutes, two hours ahead of the second place finisher, Armond Cloutier. He also competed in the 24 Heures La Tuque with American Billy Barton, and with Thomas Bucy in 1966. Park was ranked 10th in 1964, 7th in 1966, 4th in 1967, and 6th in 1968 in the World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation rankings.
Margaret Park, Canada, 2000
Margaret Park swam in the 1960s with two successful marathon swimming brothers. Brother Tom is also an Honour Swimmer. In the 10-mile Hamilton Marathon Swim, 41 swimmers started and only 9 finished: Margaret was the first woman and two of her brothers (Tom Park and George Park) also finished. Her other major swims were 28 miles in the Saguenay River (twice – once in each direction), 10-mile Quebec City swim, Lac Simone and Lac St. Clair. In a two-person relay race at the Expo 67 Montreal in Canada, Margaret was the only woman and paired with a stranger. Her teammate vanished after the second hour and Margaret completed the remainder of the 24 hours solo.
Tom Park, Canada, 1968
Tom Park won the 45 km (28-mile) Saguenay River swim in 1964 in 9 hours 18 minutes and several other professional marathon swims. He won the first 36 km (22.5-mile) Around-the-Island Marathon Swim in Atlantic City, USA in 1954. He won the race again in 1955, but lost by two seconds to Canadian Cliff Lumsdon in 1956. Tom and Cliff vied for the top spot for the rest of the decade, usually finishing within a few minutes of each other. In the 1960 edition, they tied for second in ten hours, forty minutes and seven seconds.
Batista Pereira, Portugal, 1971
Baptista Pereira was the premier marathon swimmer of Portugal from 1938 until 1949. Between 1953 and 1959, he swam several national and international events including the 42 km (26-mile) Nile Swim in Egypt, the 36 km (22.5-mile) Around-the-Island Marathon Swim in Atlantic City, USA, the 30 km (18.6-mile) Paris swim, the 18.5 km (11.5-mile) Ouver-Sur-Oise swim and the 100 km (62-mile) Angers-Ancenis-Nantes swim. In 1959, Batista swam 204 km (127 miles) down the River Tagus in Portugal. He swam the Straits of Gibraltar in 1953 and 1956 while setting records. He was the winner of the 1954 Butlin’s English Channel race and finished third in the 1959 race. In 1959, he claimed the European Distance record by swimming 206 km (128 miles) in the Tejo River in Portugal in a time of 28 hours 43 minutes.
Rose Pitonof, USA, 2013
Honored as Pioneer. Rose Pitonof, who lived from 1895 to 1984, was a marathon swimmer of the early 20th century and is the namesake of the 17-mile Rose Pitonof Centennial Swim, her historic swim from Manhattan to Steeplechase Pier, Coney Island. In 1910 at the age of 15, she won the 8-mile Boston Light Swim in a record time of 6 hours 50 minutes. Seven men started the competition with her, but none finished. She was the first woman to ever complete the event. After her Boston Light Swim, Rose became a Vaudeville performer. In 1911, she swam from East 26th Street to Steeplechase Pier, earning the woman’s title of Long Distance Swimming Champion of the World. The distance is 17 miles which she swam mostly breaststroke. An estimated 50,000 people were reported to have cheered her on at Coney Island.
In 1912, she planned to attempt to swim across the English Channel, but she never got her chance and swam the Thames instead. In 1913 she made attempts to swim from the Manhattan Battery to Sandy Hook, New Jersey.
James Pittar, Australia, 2009
James Pittar swam the English Channel, Catalina Channel, and Manhattan Island Marathon Swim to become the first Australian and first blind swimmer to complete the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming. He also completed 21 km swim in Phuket, Thailand, an 11 km swim in Anzac Cove, Turkey, a 25 km swim in the Vaal River in South America, a 60 km swim down the Parana River in Argentina, a swim across the Cook Strait in New Zealand, a 19 km swim across the Rottnest Channel in Australia, a first ever 26 km swim from Marthas Vineyard to Nantucket Island, USA, a 21 km swim from Bordighera Italy to Monaco Monte Carlo, a 7.5 km Robben Island swim, 13 km swim around Pennock Island Ketchikan USA, a double crossing of Alcatraz, a successful crossing of the Strait of Gibraltar, 10k Capitola Pier to Santa Cruz pier swim and 6 miles in Innishboffin Harbour Ireland.. James was also a member of the Bering Strait relay swim 2013 of which one the WOWSA.
Claudio Plit, Argentina, 1981
Claudio Plit has won major professional marathon races for over 30 years and was first or second nine times between 1974 and 1984 while finishing first, second or third in 45 professional marathon swims between 1974 and 1984. He has competed in the prestigious 34 km (21-mile) Traversée internationale du Lac St-Jean in Canada over 25 times. He won the 64 km (39.7-mile) double-crossing of the Traversée internationale du Lac St-Jean in Canada two times. He has won every major professional marathon race, some several times. A partial list of his victories include the 42 km (26-mile) Traversée internationale du Lac Memphrémagog in Canada, the 36 km (22.5-mile) Around the Island Marathon Swim in Atlantic City, USA, the 32 km (20-mile) Maratona del Golfo – Capri-Napoli, the 58 km (36-mile) Santa Fe-Coronda race in Argentina, 29 km (18-mile) Paspebiac swim in Canada, the 51.5 km (32-mile) Lake Ontario swim in Canada, he 88 km (54.6-mile) Hernandaras-Parana swim in Argentina, the 45 km (28-mile) Saguenay River swim in Canada, the 24-hour Lac La Tuque relay in Canada, and the Suez Canal, Port Said and Nile River swims in Egypt.
He is the race director for the 38.6 km (24-mile) Mar de Plata and Rosario Marathon Swims in Argentina, coaches and escorts swimmers participating on the professional circuit, and has participated as a guest presenter at FINA Open Water Swimming seminars. He is also an inductee in the International Swimming Hall of Fame (2014).
Francis “Frank” Pritchard, USA, 2008
Frank Pritchard is an Honor Pioneer Swimmer and was active in marathon swimming between 1927 through 1938. During his early career, Frank finished second in the 1927 National A.A.U. 4.5-mile championships and fourth in the 1928 Olympic Trials in the 1500-meter freestyle. During his marathon swimming career, Frank out-swam several of the better known marathon swimmers of his era. He beat Americans Marvin Nelson and Clarence Ross, Canadian George Young, Italian Gianni Gambi and German Ernest Vierkoetter. Between 1930 and 1937, Frank participated in the most prestigious marathon swimming event of the time, the Canadian National Exhibition swims in Toronto, Canada. In 1931, he finished fourth. In 1933, he finished third. In 1934 and 1935, he finished second. In 1936, he finally won. In 1937, he defended his title and set a race record that lasted more than 10 years. He also won the 1934 Hearst 24 km (15-mile) Swim in Lake Michigan in Chicago, USA and the 1934 and 1935 Blue Water Carnival 19.3 km (12-mile) Swim from Sarnia, Ontario, Canada to St. Clair, Michigan, USA.
Lewis Pugh, Great Britain, 2013
Marathon swimmers are not your average humans. They voluntarily push themselves beyond the normal. Cold, rough and tough are three adjectives that are commonly used among the marathon swimming crowd. But Pugh takes cold, rough and tough to an entirely different level. The former maritime lawyer and British Special Air Service warrior has done plenty of channel swims and ultra-marathon swims, but it is also his swims on high (on Mount Everest), down south (off Antarctica), and up north (across the North Pole) where he has established his name and reputation. His swims take on a significant amount of risk that requires full attention by his military experience and scientific mind. He surrounds himself by teams of experts and tackles swims that are considered impossible by the average person and extraordinarily daunting by his fellow aquatic adventurers.
Pugh is nothing short of extraordinary. He is a modern-day Renaissance Man – lawyer, Special Forces warrior, environmentalist, pioneering athlete. Lewis’s life is as exciting as a Hollywood action hero. As a pioneer, he helps elevate the sport and enable both swimmers and non-swimmers alike to think of what is possible and how to get there. He received the Presidential Award in 2011 from the International Swimming Hall of Fame.
Shadia El Rageb, Egypt, 1971
Shadia El Rageb was the 1971 and 1972 Professional Women’s Marathon swimming champion and was undefeated in 1971 in international races. She was awarded the title as Africa’s top swimmer. She won the 32 km (20-mile) Maratona del Golfo Capri-Napoli in 1972 and 1973 and the 24 Heures La Tuque relay in Canada. In 1968, she won the International Turkey swimming race and the 30 km International Bulgaria swimming marathon in 1969, 1970 and 1971.
Michael P. Read, MBE, Great Britain, 1978
Michael Read was the King of the Channel® between 1979 and 2005 with 33 successful crossings of the English Channel. He was the first person to complete four swims in a year, the first person to complete five swims in a year and the first person to complete six swims in a year (1984). He also made the latest swim of the season recorded; there was frost on the pebbles as he walked into the sea. His crossings include five unsuccessful double-crossing attempts. Mike has completed over 110 swims greater than 16 km (9.9 miles) with most of his swims in cold water ranging from 6°-15°C (42°-60°F). He was the Lake Windermere Champion between 1969 and 1977, setting a record six times. He swam 96.5 km (60 miles) around Isle of Wright in 24 hours and 36 minutes, 35.4 km (22 miles) across Loch Lomond, 25.7 km (16 miles) across Loch Eurn, 25.7 km (16 miles) across Lock Tay, 40 km (25 miles) between Jeble and Latakia in Syria 25 km, and 25 km (15.5 miles) between Evian to Lausanne in Switzerland.
He was the 1960 and 1961 British Long Distance Champion, the double-crossing 33.7 km (21-mile) Lake Windermere Champion for nine consecutive years between 1969 and 1977. He was the third person to swim the 38.6K (24-mile) Loch Ness in 14 hours 23 minutes in 6°-7°C (42.8°-44.7°F) water. He was the first to swim Loch Lomond twice (35.4 km or 22 miles) once in 12 hours and 13 minutes and later in 11 hours 51 minutes. He set record for the 14.4 km (9-mile) Loch Rannoch swim in 1975 in 5 hours and 8 minutes and completed the first 16 km (10-mile) swim from Kings Lynn to Downham Market in England in 1975 in 4 hours 54 minutes. He was the first person to swim 64.3 km or 40 miles between Hunstanton and Skegness and Hunstanton, 65 km (40 miles) from Mora to Amposta in Spain in 1998 in 14 hours 57 minutes, 37.8 km (23.5 miles) from Perth to Broughty Ferry in Australia in 1974 in 9 hours 43 minutes, 25.7 km (16 miles) between Hunstanton-Skegness in 1975 in 8 hours 30 minutes, 18 km (11.1 miles) in a double-crossing of Lake Sursee in Switzerland, a 49.8 km (31-mile) triple-crossing of Lake Windermere in 19 hours 0 minutes, a 67.5 km (42-mile) quadruple-crossing of Lake Windermere in 26 hours 3 minutes. He completed a 40.2 km (25-mile) Nile International Championship in 1977, 40.2 km (25 miles) from Jeble to Latakia in Syria in 1977, 28.9 km (18 miles) from Jarach to Sabac in Yugoslavia in 1990, 32K (20 miles) across Lake Como from Dervio to Lecco in 1985, 1986, 1988 and 1989, 48 km (28.5 miles) around Manhattan Island in New York, USA in 1989, Torregaveta Baia Bacoli in 1986 and 1987, 32 km (20 miles) across Lake Zurich from Rapperswill to Zurich in 1988, was the 25.7 km (16-mile) Windermere International Champion in 1970 and did the 25.7 km (16-mile) Windermere International in 1974, 1978 and 1982, swum 16.8 km (10.5 miles) across Lake Windermere 39 times, swam 20.9 km (13 miles) from Fleetwood to Morecambe in England, swam four times in Morecambe Cross Bay race, won the International Olympic Committee Championship between Evian and Lausanne in Switzerland in 1991 and 1993, won the International Olympic Committee Championship between Lausanne and Evian in 1992 and 1994, participated in the 25 km (15.5-mile) Gulf of Toroneos swim in Greece in 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007, swam 9 km (5.5 miles) from Proventura to Lerici in Italy in 1993, participated in the British Amateur Swimming Association National 5 km Championship in 1966 (3rd), 1967 (3rd), 1968 (3rd), 1969 (5th), 1970 (3rd), 1971 (6th), participated in the 25 km (15.5-mile) Amateur Swimming Association National Championship in 1996 (2nd) and 1999 (3rd), Amateur Swimming Association Masters 5 km Championship in 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007, swam 23 km (14.2 miles) from Stavoren to Medemblik in Isslmeer in Holland in 1998, 1999 and 2000, 33 km (20.5 miles) from Koroni to Kalamata in 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2005, 33 km (20.5 miles) from Kalamata to Koroni in 2003 and 2004, 23 km (14.2 miles) across Lake Trichonida in 2000, and 25 km (15.5 miles) in the World Marathon Series in Alexandria, Egypt in 2000. He was elected as the British Long Distance Swimming Association “Swimmer of the Year” in 1979 and 1999, honorary citizen of Dervio (Lake Como) in 1988, Honorary Citizen of Nikiti (Greece) in 1993.
He was the Channel Swimming Association Chairman since 1993 and an alternate member of the British 1960 Olympic team in the 800-meter freestyle relay and has served as a swimming administrator in one capacity or another for almost 50 years. He was a FINA judge, timekeeper, referee and starter between 1969 and 1971, and received the Irving Davids / Captain Roger Wheeler Memorial Award in 2009. He was also inducted in the International Swimming Hall of Fame as an Honor Open Water Swimmer (2011).
Stephen Redmond, Ireland, 2017
The concept of the “bucket list” is increasingly catching the interest of marathon swimmers. For many, it is simply the English Channel. For others, it is the Triple Crown.
The OCEANS SEVEN takes it to a much different level. Stephen Redmond was the first swimmer to complete the challenge, in his 40s, between August 2009 and July 2012: English Channel in 20 hours and one-minute, North Channel in 17 hours and 17 minutes, Strait of Gibraltar, Catalina Channel, Cook Strait, Molokai Channel in 22 hours and 29 minutes and Tsugaru Channel.
This former rugby prop with the famous London Irish team, Stephen was never going to be the fastest swimmer. His determination to complete the challenge and be the first in the world drove him to new level of performance. The journey included four serious setbacks. Conditions won on his first attempt of the Molokai Channel and his first three attempts of the Tsugaru Channel.
The quest for international glory accomplished, Stephen turned his sights to the seemingly impossible swim close to home. Soon after returning from Japan he completed a swim in Cork Ireland from Baltimore around the Fastnet Rock and into Schull (24 mile/39 km). Look on Google Earth at this exposed location, factor in the next landfall to the East being New York, think about the six hour tidal patterns and imagine that Stephen’s motivation was still in place after the Ocean’s Seven!
David Yudovin, Honour Swimmer in both the IMSHOF and ISHOF, liked to be the first ever to complete a new swim. He said this could never be taken away – but being the fastest would only last a little while. The record has been established. Stephen Redmond from Cork Ireland was, and always will be, the first to have completed the OCEANS SEVEN CHALLENGE.
Des Renford, MBE, Australia, 1978
Des Renford was King of the Channel® between 1975 and 1979 with 16 successful crossings of the English Channel that included ten records. He was the first person complete three crossings in a year. He was also King of the Channel® briefly in 1980 when he achieved his eighteenth crossing. Des swam the 22.5 km (13.9-mile) Sydney Harbour swim from Luna Park to Manly and back in Australia. He won a 60 km (37.2-mile) race down the Murray River from Mindook Creek to Mildura in Australia in 1969 in 19 hours. He swam a 36.6 km (22.7-mile) race across Queensland’s Moreton Bay in Australia in 1973. He completed a 90 km (55.9-mile) ocean swim from Watsons Bay to Wollongong in 27 hours 30 minutes in 1974. He set a record for a swim around Alcatraz Island in 1977. He also received the International Swimming Hall of Fame Certificate of Merit in 2011 and was inducted in 2016.
Hassan Abdel Rheim, Egypt, 1966
Hassan Abdel Rheim swam from France to England in 1948, from England to France in 1949, from France to England in 1950 to win the first Daily Mail Race and finished third in the 1951 Daily Mail Race from France to England.
Julie Ridge, USA, 1985
Julie Ridge became the first person to complete a double circumnavigation around Manhattan Island in New York City, USA in 21 hours in 1983 and swam the English Channel in 17 hours 55 minutes in 1982.
Veljko Rogosic, Yugoslavia, 1998
Veljko Rogošić was the International Long Distance Swimming Federation world champion four times between 1971 and 1974 and was selected as a charter member of the International Marathon Swimmers Hall of Fame. He began as a great pool swimmer for the former Yugoslavia where he won 142 national championships and competed a total of 203 times for his country in international competitions. He set 51 national records in the 400m and 1500m freestyle, 200m and 400m individual medley, 200m butterfly and freestyle relays and was the national team captain for 15 years as he participated in two Olympic Games (1960 in Rome and 1964 in Tokyo). His highest international rankings were in the 1500m freestyle (fourth) and 400m individual medley (fifth).
After he shifted from the pool to the open water, he continued to excel. He won the 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972 and 1973 marathons in Italian Ricconeu and won the world championship in 1971, 1972, 1973 and 1974 at the 36 km Maratona del Golfo Capri-Napoli as well as the 1976 Faros Maratón 1976. He swam against the best: finishing second to John Kinsella in the 1974 Traversée internationale du lac St-Jeanand third overall in the 1975 and 1876 Traversée internationale du lac St-Jean. He also swam a 225 km (139.8 mile) 50 hour 10 minute solo marathon swim across the Adriatic Sea from Croatia to Italy in 2006.
Norman Ross, USA, 1984
Norman Ross won 3 gold medals in the 1920 Antwerp Olympics and set 13 world records and won 18 U.S. national championships. For these exploits, he was honored by the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1967. Known as “Big Moose”, Norman also entered the 1927 Wrigley Ocean Marathon from Catalina Island to the California mainland and the 33.7K (21-mile) Canadian National Exhibition races in 1927 and 1928.
Philip Rush, New Zealand, 1985
Philip Rush swam the English Channel in 1985 in a single-crossing and then set a double-crossing record in 17 hours and 56 minutes. He made successful single-crossings in 1986 and 1987 and then became the second swimmer to achieve a triple-crossing in 28 hours and 21 minutes included a first leg of 7 hours and 55 minutes which was the fastest swim of the year. In his epic triple-crossing, he swam his first leg in 7 hours 55 minutes, which was the fastest swim of the year, his second leg in 8 hours 15 minutes to set a double-crossing record, and his third leg in 12 hours 11 minutes for a triple-crossing record of 28 hours 21 minutes. Philip completed his tenth crossing in 1988. Philip also completed two double-crossings of the 25.7 km (16-mile) Cook Strait in New Zealand (16 hours 16 minutes in 1984 and 18 hours 37 minutes in 1988).
He also crossed the Cook (North to South) in 8 hours 56 minutes in 1979, placed second in a 38 km (23.6-mile) professional marathon race in the Nile River, Egypt in 1979, third in the 30 km world championships in Italy in 1979, third in the 32K (20-mile) Maratona del Golfo – Capri-Napoli world championships in Italy in 1981, seventh in the 34 km (21-mile) Traversée internationale du Lac St-Jean professional race in 1981, first the 22 km (13.6-mile) Wellington Harbour in New Zealand race in 1982, first the 22 km (13.6-mile) Otago Harbour in New Zealand race in 1982, first in the 24 km (14.9-mile) Australian Championships in 1982, crossed the 32K Catalina Channel in 8 hours 2 minutes in 1982, fifth in the 36 km (22.5-mile) Around-the-Island professional marathon swim in Atlantic City, USA in 1983, fifth in the 34 km (21-mile) Traversée internationale du Lac St-Jean professional race in 1983, fourth in the 48K (29.8-mile) Traversée internationale du Lac Memphrémagog professional race in 1983, first in the 29 km (18-mile) Paspediac marathon race in Canada in 1983, fifth in the 36K (22.5-mile) Around-the-Island professional marathon swim in Atlantic City, USA in 1984, eighth in the 48 km (29.8-mile) Traversée internationale du Lac Memphrémagog in 1984, fourth in the 42 km (26-mile) Traversée internationale du Lac St-Jean professional race in 1984, second in the 29 km (18-mile) Paspediac marathon race in Canada in 1984, did the first 84 km (52-mile) double-crossing of Lake Taupo in 23 hours 6 minutes in New Zealand in 1985, did the Ironman Enduro Rotorua that included 10 hours of swimming in 1985, finished sixth in the 48 km (29.8-mile) Traversée internationale du Lac Memphrémagog professional race in 1985, second in the 62 km (38.5-mile) Traversée internationale du Lac St-Jean double-crossing professional race in 1985 and 1986, fourth in the 48 km (29.8-mile) Traversée internationale du Lac Memphrémagog professional race in 1986, second in the 48 km (29.8-mile) Traversée internationale du Lac Memphrémagog in 1987, seventh in the 48 km (29.8-mile) Traversée internationale du Lac Memphrémagog in 1987 and crossed from Maori Kapiti Island to d’Uurville Island in New Zealand.
Rush continues to play a valuable role as he coaches and advises swimmers who challenge the Cook Strait. To date, he has coached 27 swimmers successfully across the Cook Strait and is helping develop New Zealand’s open water swimming program.
Willy Van Rysel, Netherlands, 2002
Willy van Rysel was the first woman to receive the Davids-Wheeler Award from the International Swimming Hall of Fame. She traveled throughout Great Britain promoting long distance swimming and setting records. In 1955, she became the first woman and set a record when she swam 24 km from Stavoren to Enkhuizen, set a record swimming 18 km from Katwijk to Scheveningen, became the first person to swim 18 km from Dungeness to Hythe, set a record of 5 hours 15 minutes swimming 26 km from Dover to Ramsgate, set two records swimming 16 km in Lake Windermere from Waterhead to Lakeside first in 7 hours 38 minutes and then again in 6 hours 50 minutes.
She received The Irving Davids/Captain Roger W. Wheeler Memorial Award from the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1973 for her contribution to the administration of open water swimming. She is also an inductee in the International Masters Swimming Hall of Fame (2008).
General Omar Sabry, Egypt, 1965
Omar Sabry was a swimmer in a 6-man relay from Egypt that completed an English Channel crossing from England to France in 11 hours 11 minute on 7 September 1949, breaking the existing record of 12 hours 35 minutes set in 1938 by a French relay team. The members included Marie Hassan Hamad, Mohmod Mahamed Hassan, Omar Sabry, Ahmad El Zerkani, Aley Addine and Hassan Abdel Rehim. He also played for the Egyptian Olympic water polo team at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics.
William ‘Bill’ Sadlo, Jr., USA, 2009
Bill Sadlo is honored as a Pioneer Swimmer. He competed in at least 31 marathon swims between 1927 and 1957 and was a founding member of the International Professional Swimmers Association while directing swimming programs in New York City for three decades. Bill was the Vice President of the International Professional Swimmers Association that was established in 1927 in New York City. He participated in the 3-mile President’s Cup Races across the Potomac River between 1922 and 1925 and the 3.5 mile NYC Metropolitan AAU Senior Long Distance Championship at Camp Ruddy. In 1930, he swam 11.6 miles from Coney Island to the Battery in Manhattan, in 3 hours and 39 minutes, and finished seventh in the 1948 Lake George, New York 12-mile race at the age of 46.
Prior to his successful swim from Battery Park to Liberty Island in New York City in 1930, Sadlo had attempted the same swim in 1925, only to be carried out by a swift ebb tide. In 1927, heswam the first of four 28.5-mile races around Manhattan Island, winning in 1928 as the only swimmer to finish. Sadlo participated in 20, all but one, of the Canadian National Exhibition long distance swims in Toronto between 1927 and 1955, ranging from 5 to 32 miles with third being his highest finish in 1949 when only three swimmers completed the famously difficult race. Given the nickname ‘The Swimming Grandfather’ in Canada, he remained competitive with younger swimmers into his 50′s. Sadlo made two successful Great Lakes crossings in the 1950s. At age 52, he competed in a 31.7-mile race across Lake Erie from Point Pelee Park, Canada to the Cedar Point Resort in Sandusky, Ohio in 15 hours 30 minutes.
In 1957, he became the oldest person to successfully swim 32 miles across Lake Ontario from Fort Niagara, New York to Toronto, Canada. Sadlo also participated in the inaugural 22.5-mile swim around Abescon Island in Atlantic City in 1954 where he finished a respectable 11th place at age 52 against the best swimmers of that era.
Johannes “Johan” Schans, Netherlands, 1970
Johan Schans was a close runner-up in the 1969 World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation ranking. He was second in the 42 km (26-mile) Traversée internationale du Lac St-Jean professional race in 10 hours and 12 minutes in 1969 and fourth in 57 km (36-mile) Santa Fe-Coronda river swim in Argentina in 8 hours 1 minute in 1969.
Jan Van Scheyndal, Netherlands, 1985
In 1969, Jan van Scheyndal was the first person from Holland to swim across the English Channel in 12 hours 47 minutes and was the Windermere International champion in 1968.
Charlotte “Lottie” Schoemmell, USA, 1967
In 1926, Lottie Schoemmell swam 251 km (156 miles) down the Hudson River in New York, USA in 57 hours 11 minutes over an 11-day period, eating lumps of sugar soaked in whiskey while in the water. She also swam around Manhattan Island in New York in 14 hours 21 minutes in 1926 and nearly finished the 1927 Wrigley Ocean Marathon from Catalina Island to the California mainland, USA.
Mihir Sen, India, 1966
In 1958, Mihir Sen became the first India to swim across the English Channel. He distinguished himself crossing six major straits in 1966: the Palk Strait between India and Sri Lanka in 25 hours 44 minutes, the Straits of Gibraltar between Spain and Morocco, 51.5 km (32 miles) across the Dardanelles from Gallipoli to Sendulbahir, Turkey, the length of the Panama Canal from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean in 35 hours 30 minutes, and 32 km (20 miles) across the Bosphorus (Istanbul Strait) in Turkey.
Mervyn Sharp, Great Britain, 2006
Mervyn Sharp was a former King of the Channel® with seven crossings of the English Channel, done between 1967 and 1974. He also swam 16 km (10 miles) from Lulworth Cove to Weymouth, 32 km (20 miles) in a double-crossing between Weymouth and Lulworth Cove, 12.8 km (8 miles) between Torquay and Brixham, 12.8 km (8 miles) in Lake Bala in Wales, 48.2 km (30 miles) from Swanage to Weymouth, 14.4 km (9 miles) from Swanage to Bournemouth and 25 km (15.5 miles) at the 1970 Lake Windermere Championships in England. He also did several professional marathon swims in Canada in 1971 and 1972 including the 34 km (21-mile) Traversée internationale du Lac St-Jean in Canada, 37 km (23-mile) la Descente ou remontée du Saguenay in Canada and the 24-hour La Tuque Relay in Canada. His crossings included his 18 hour 34 minute crossing in 1967 from France to England and his six other crossings from England to France in 1968 (17 hours 52 minutes), 1969 (14 hours 29 minutes and 19 hours 41 minutes), 1970 (15 hours 14 minutes), 1973 (15 hours 17 minutes) and 1974 (13 hours 42 minutes).
Nasser el Shazly, Egypt, 1979
Nasser el Shazly swam the fastest crossing of the English Channel from France to England in 1977 when he won the Arab Nations English Channel Race in 8 hours 45 minutes.
Tanarath Narayan Shenoy, India, 1987
Taranath Narayan Shenoy, who is a deaf-mute and legally blind, swam across the Strait of Gibraltar in 1988 and made three successful crossings of the English Channel, from France to England in 10 hours 54 minutes in 1983 and from England to France in 10 hours 55 minutes in 1984 and in 10 hours 42 minutes in 1985. He also crossed the Catalina Channel in 10 hours 15 minutes in 1987.
Brenda Sherratt, Great Britain, 1970
Brenda Sherratt was the first person to swim 36.2 km (22.5 miles) across the length of Loch Ness in Scotland in 31 hours 27 minutes in 1966, at the age of 18. She also completed a 5 km Bala swim, 8 km Coniston, 18 km Windemere crossing where she started as a 17-year-old and finished as an 18 year old, and 16 km two way crossing of Coniston.
John Sigmund, USA, 1965
John Sigmund swam 470 km (292 miles) down the Mississippi River from St. Louis to Caruthersville, Missouri, USA in 89 hours 46 minutes in 1940.
Carol Sing, USA, 2000
55-year-old Carol Sing became the oldest woman in history to swim the Catalina Channel when she crossed in 10 hours 38 minutes in 1997. She also completed the 48 km (28.5-mile) Manhattan Island Marathon Swim in 8 hours 46 minutes in 1998 and in 9 hours 16 minutes in 2001. She also crossed the Catalina Channel on a paddle board as the oldest woman to do so. She is also a long-time Catalina Channel Swimming Federation committee member.
Marty Sinn, USA, 1963
Marty Sinn finished second overall in the 24 km(15-mile) Canadian National Exposition in Lake Ontario in 1963 and was the first woman in the 36 km (22.5-mile) Around the Island Swim in Atlantic City, USA in 1964. She also swam a professional marathon swim in the Suez Canal in Egypt.
Dr. David Smith, USA, 1969
David Smith swam across San Francisco Bay under the Golden Gate Bridge, 48 km (30 miles) down the Russian River and 101 km (63) miles down the Sacramento River, both in California. In 1966, he swam the Strait of Gibraltar from Morocco to Spain, the Hellespont, Bosporus (Istanbul Strait) and competed in professional marathon swims in Italy, Yugoslavia and Egypt. In 1967, he was the first person to swim from Morocco to The Rock of Gibraltar.
Joe Smith, Great Britain, 2005
Joe Smith won most of the British Long Distance Swimming Association race during the late 1950’s and early 1960. After two failed English Channel attempts in 1961 and 1962, Joe became the oldest Briton to conquer the English Channel in 1999 at the age of 65. He served as a director of the Channel Swimming Association. He was British Long Distance Swimming Association’s Veteran Swimmer of the Year and was awarded an ARP British Gold Hero’s Medal. Joe won the Morecambe Inshore Championship in 1958 and 1959, the Morecambe Bay Championships in 1959 and 1960, the 10.25-mile Windermere Championship in 1959, the Windermere Cross Lake Championship in 1960, the Champion of Champions race in 1998.
Igor de Sousa, Brazil, 2004
Igor de Sousa swam the English Channel in 11 hours 6 minutes in 1996 as the best male time of the year. He swam an 18 hour 33 minute double-crossing of the English Channel in 1997 whose first (9 hours 31 minutes) and second (9 hours 2 minutes) legs were the fastest times for crossings in that year. Igor won the 48 km (28.5-mile) Manhattan Island Marathon Swim twice in 1994 and 2001. He started swimming International Marathon Swimming Association events in 1985 and was ranked in the top 10 between 1987 and 1994. For 15 years, he competed all over the world, winning some races and finishing all. He swam 36 km (22.5-mile) Around-the-Island Marathon Swim in Atlantic City, USA a total of ten times.
Tomi Stefanovski, Macedonia, 2016
Dr. Chris Stockdale, OBE, Great Britain, 1992
Chris Stockdale, the long-time physician to the Channel Swimming Association, swam the English Channel three times: England-to-France in 17 hours 30 minutes in 1977 and in 15 hours 56 minutes in 1981, and France-to-England in 14 hours 50 minutes in 1984.
Skip Storch, USA, 2008
Skip Storch was nominated for the 2008 ESPY Awards as the Best Outdoor Athlete due to his triple circumnavigation of Manhattan Island in 32 hours 52 minutes. Storch has also done the 48 km (28.5-mile) Manhattan Island Marathon Swim, a 32 km (20-mile) swim in the Hudson River, a 246 km (153-mile) staged swim from Albany to New York City, a 24 km (15-mile) swim along the length of the East River through Hell’s Gate, and a 41 hour 30 minute stage swim in the Hudson River to the Albany Yacht Club to Pier A Battery Park in New York City.
Petar Stoychev, Bulgaria, 2008
Petar Stoychev is the current record-holder for the English Channel in 6 hours 57 minutes and has won an unprecedented eight consecutive FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix titles, including over 50 victories in individual professional marathon swims, including the 42 km (26-mile) Traversée internationale du Lac Memphrémagog in Canada, the 36 km (22.5-mile) Around the Island Swim in Atlantic City, USA, the 34 km (21-mile) Traversée internationale du Lac St-Jean in Canada, the 32 km (20-mile)Maratona del Golfo – Capri Napoli in Italy and several races in Argentina including the 57 km (36-mile) Maratón Sante Fe – Coronda and the 15 km (9-mile) Maratona Acuatica Internacional Ciudad de Rosario. He was the flag bearer for the Bulgarian Olympic Team at the 2008 Beijing Olympics where he swam the 1500 freestyle and got sixth in the Olympic 10 km Marathon Swim.
Alison Streeter, MBE, Great Britain, 1985
Alison Streeter is the Queen of the Channel® for successfully crossing the English Channel a record 43 times. In 1983, she became the first European woman to complete a double-crossing (78.8 km or 49 miles in 21 hours 16 minutes). In 1990, she became the first woman to complete a triple-crossing (112K or 70 miles in 34 hours). She has completed the Triple Crown of marathon swimming: the English Channel, Catalina Channel and circumnavigation of Manhattan Island. She has swum the English Channel seven times in one year and is the fastest woman from France to England, the first woman to swim across the Irish Sea (North Channel) and completed three channel swims in five weeks linking Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales and France. She is also an inductee in the International Swimming Hall of Fame (2006).
Martin Strel, Slovenia, 2015
Martin Strel is a legendary Slovenian marathon swimmer who is best known for completing stage swims along the length of the Danube River, the Mississippi River, the Yangtze River, and the Amazon River. He is a member of the 24-hour club for swimming along the Krka River (105 km) in Slovenia in 28 hours in 1992, and in the Kolpa river (62 kilometers in 16 hours in 1993. In 2000, he swam in the Danube River (2,860 kilometers) and achieved the world stage swim record (3,004 kilometers) in a 58-day swim. In 2001, he swam 504.5 kilometers when he swam non-stop in the Danube River for 84 hours 10 minutes. In 2002, he swam along the Mississippi River (3,885 kilometers) in 68 days.
In 2003, he swam 3,998 kilometers along the Argentine Paraná River. In 2004, he swam down the Yangtze River (4,003 kilometers) in China for 40 days. Strel swam along the Amazon River in 2007 in 66 days in 2007 for 5,268 kilometers in a wetsuit. Strel was the subject and star of a feature documentary entitled Big River Man that won a Best Cinematography prize at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.
Greg Streppel, Canada, 1996
Greg Streppel placed second in the World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation rankings. He has won the professional marathon races, the 1995 Pan Pacific 25 km Championships, the FINA World Championship Preliminary and the 1994 World Swimming Championships 25K in Italy.
Henry Sullivan, USA, 1968
Henry Sullivan became the third person to swim the English Channel on his seventh attempt in 1923 in 26 hours 50 minutes which remains the longest one-way channel swim on record. He is reported to have made six other English Channel attempts between 1913 and 1921, but they were all unsuccessful. In 1927 he successfully crossed the Catalina Channel in 22 hours 45 minutes.
Imre Szenasi, Hungary, 1973
Between 1962 and 1969, Imre Szenasi completed a swim of 219 km (136 miles) in the River Tisza in Romania in 44 hours 50 minutes, 228 km (142 miles) from Budapest to Bratislava, 130 km (81 miles) in 41 hours 40 minutes in the River Tisza in Romania and several swims between 48 and 96 km (30 and 60 miles) in Lake Balaton in Hungary and the Danube.
Stella Taylor, USA, 1982
In 1973 and 1975, Stella Taylor successfully crossed the English Channel. In 1975, she became the oldest woman to have swum the English Channel at 45 years and 349 days of age.
Shelley Taylor-Smith, Australia, 1990
Shelly Taylor-Smith won the inaugural FINA World Swimming Championship 25K in Australia in 1990 and held the professional women’s No.1 world ranking from 1988 to 1995. She set a record for the 48K (28.5-mile) Manhattan Island Marathon Swim and several professional marathons. She earned the overall No.1 world ranking on the World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation circuit for both men and women in 1981. Shelley won two 25K world championships and two 25K Pan Pacific Swimming Championships. She was a four-time World and Australian Long Distance Swimmer of the Year between 1988 and 1997, set the record for the 79K (49-mile) Sydney to Wollongong solo swim, won an incredible total of 51 international marathon swimming races, including nine overall (men and women) victories. She crossed the English Channel in 1990, was on a triple-crossing English Channel relay in 1997, was the nine-time Australian Women’s National Open Water Swimming Champion and the five-time overall winner of the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim.
She wrote an autobiography called Dangerous When Wet and has helped standardize and professionalize the staging of marathon swims around the world through her position as the Honorary Secretary of the FINA Technical Open Water Swimming Committee. She has oversight of the FINA 10K Marathon Swimming World Cup circuit, the FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix series, the FINA World Open Water Swimming Championships, the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim at the 2008 Beijing Olympics Olympic and the 2012 London Olympics.
In 2008 she was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame and also received The Irving Davids/Captain Roger W. Wheeler Memorial Award for her contribution to the administration of open water swimming.
Bert Thomas, USA, 1969
Bert Thomas was the first person to cross the 29 km (18-mile) Juan de Fuca Strait between Vancouver Island in Canada and the American state of Washington in 11 hours 17 minutes in 1955 on his fifth attempt in 8.8°C (48°F) water.
Patty Thompson, Canada, 1969
Patty Thompson, a Canadian Olympic swimmer at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, was the 1969 women’s World Professional Marathon Swimming Association champion. She won all her professional marathon swims: 16 km (10-mile) Hamilton Marathon Swim, 27 km (17-mile) Rhode Island Marathon Swim from Narragansett Rhode Island to Block Island, 19 km (12-mile) Man and His World Marathon Swim and a 24-hour swim in Santa Fe, Argentina. At age 45 in 1991, Thompson became the oldest female to cross Lake Ontario with her time of 19 hours 18 minutes.
Enrico Tiraboschi, Italy, 1971
Enrico Tiraboschi was the first person to swim the English Channel from France to England in 16 hours 23 minutes in 1923.
Nora Toledano Cadena, Mexico, 2006
Nora was the first and only Mexican and first Latin American woman and sixth person to complete a double-crossing of the English Channel. She crossed the English Channel six times individually in 1992, 1994, 1997 and 2005, and five times on a relay. She has swam 45 km (28 miles) from Akumal to Cozumel in Mexico, 70 km (43.4 miles) from Cozumel to Cancun in Mexico, 48 km (29.8 miles) around Manhattan Island in New York, USA and won the 3 km (1.8 miles) at the 2005 World Masters Games. She coached give Mexican English Channel Swimmers from Mexico and is the co-author with Antonio Argüelles of Endless Blue, an open water swimming book. She organized the FINA Marathon Swimming World Cup in Cancún (Mexico) and was nominated in 1994, 1997 and 2005 to receive the National Sports Award in Mexico.
Giulio Travaglio, Italy, 1966
Giulio Travaglio won the 32 km (20-mile) Maratona del Golfo – Capri-Napoli in Italy five times and participated in other World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation races including the 24-hour La Tuque Marathon Relay. He was the 1966 overall world champion of the World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation.
Montserrat Tresserras, Spain, 1970
Montserrat was a pioneer of many swims and was the first Spanish women to swim the Strait of Gibraltar and the first Spaniard to swim the English Channel in 1958. In 1961, she again crossed the English Channel in the opposite direction from France to England to become the first women to swim the English Channel in both directions. In 1969, she swam from Minorca to Majorca in Spain in 21 hours 10 minutes. In 1969, she swam across Lough Neagh in 16 hours 13 minutes.
She serves on the Board of the Channel Swimming Association and acts as an official observer on many of the attempts to swim the English Channel and the Strait of Gibraltar. She serves as the Vice President of the Channel Swimming Association. Montserrat is author of authoritative book Nadando El Estrecho(Swimming Across the Strait of Gibraltar).
Norman Trusty, Great Britain, 2003
Norman Trusty swam from France-to-England in 1967 in 12 hours 5 minutes and from England-to-France twice in 1971 in 12 hours 24 minutes and in 1972 in 13 hours 41 minutes. He represented England and was 6th in the 1966 Windermere Championship (10.25 miles) and 3rd in the 1974 Windermere 25 km Championship. He has participated in several single-crossing English Channel relays and set 3 records with Hetzel’s Texas Volunteers relay in 1974 (England-to-France in 8 hours 51 minutes, France-to-England in 8 hours 59 minutes, and England-to-France-to-England in 17 hours 50 minutes).
He was a long-time Channel Swimming Association committee member and its Vice-Chairman and received the Observer of the Year award in 1991. He has observed at least 50 solo swims, 13 relay swims, two double-crossings and four double-crossing relay swims. He received the Channel Swimming Association’s Audrey Scott Memorial Trophy in 1998 for the greatest contribution to English Channel swimming.
Ernest Vierkoetter, Germany, 1978
Ernest Vierkoetter, known as the “Black Shark”, set the record for the English Channel in 1926 in 12 hours 40 minutes that would stand for 24 years. He won $30,000 for winning the 33.7 km (21-mile) Canadian National Exhibition in 11 hours 45 minutes in Toronto in 1927.
Christof Wandratsch, Germany, 2004
Christof Wandratsch set the English Channel record in 7 hours 3 hours in 2005 after previously missing the record with a 7 hour 20 minute crossing in 2003. He won the 1991 and 1995 European 25 km Championships and won several International Marathon Swimming Association and the FINA Marathon Swimming World Cup events, including the 32 km (20-mile) Maratona del Golfo – Capri-Napoli in Italy, the 57 km Rio Coronda marathon race in Argentina and the 10 km races in Hong Kong, Dubai and the Red Sea. In 2005, he swam around Manhattan Island in New York, across the Strait of Gibraltar in 2005 and 25 km in Straußberg, Berlin, Germany. In 2006, he swam 63 km in Bodensee, Germany.
Barry Watson, Great Britain, 1973
Barry Watson set an English Channel record in 1964 in 9 hours 35 minutes and also swam the English Channel in 15 hours 21 minutes in 1968, in 13 hours 56 minutes in 1969 and in 15 hours 14 minutes in 1970. He was also the British Long Distance Swimming Association champion in Lake Windermere in 1963 and 1964, the 1967 British Long Distance Swimming Association Loch Lomond champion, the British Long Distance Swimming Association 2-way Lake Windermere champion in 1966, 1967 and 1968, and the British Long Distance Swimming Association champion from Fleetwood to Morecambe in 1963, 1965, 1966 and 1967. He swam across Lake Windermere 39 times. In 1970 he swam Windemere, Ullswater and Conniston in one day. Barry completed the 23 mile Lancaster to Morecambe Championship swim in 7 hours and 2 minutes in 1965.
Captain Mathew Webb, Great Britain, 1963
Captain Matthew Webb became a professional endurance swimmer in 1874. In 1875, Captain Webb became the first person to successfully swim across the English Channel in 21 hours 45 minutes on his second attempt. He swam breaststroke the entire way. 35 years passed before the second person replicated his feat. Captain Webb wrote a book, The Art of Swimming, and easily won the 1879 Trials of Endurance when he swam 119 km (74 miles) in a 6-day endurance race. He also swam 16 km (10 miles) from Sandy Hook Point to Manhattan Beach, USA in 8 hours in 1879. In 1880, he easily won a 5-mile swim in Nantasket Beach, Boston, USA. But, he drowned while trying to complete a dangerous swim through the Whirlpool Rapids in the Niagara Falls in 1883. He is also an inductee in the International Swimming Hall of Fame (1965).
Maarten van der Weijden, Netherlands, 2012
A renowned Dutch marathon swimmer from Alkmaar, Maarten van der Weijden is most famously known for being the only leukemia cancer survivor to win an Olympic gold medal. Van der Weijden was known as a promising swimming talent in his youth and was Dutch national champion in the pool and open water. In 2001, he was confronted with leukemia and his career was considered over. He fought back against cancer and made a comeback in 2003 winning three Dutch national titles. In 2004, he swam across the IJsselmeer in 4 hours 20 minutes, setting the record by almost 15 minutes and collecting €50,000 that he donated for cancer research. He finished fifth in the 2005 World Swimming Championships in the 10 km and sixth in the 25 km in Canada. He also won three FINA World Cup competitions and continued to gradually move up the ranking. He won the 25 km at the 2008 World Open Water Swimming Championships in Sevilla, Spain. He also won a bronze medal at the 5 km and was fourth in the 10 km. At the Olympic 10 km Marathon Swim, he won in dramatic fashion, coming from far back in the pack and narrowly edging out favorites David Davies of Great Britain and Thomas Lurz of Germany down the final straightaway.
He announced the end of his professional swimming career during his acceptance speech as 2008 Dutch Sportsman of the Year award ceremonies. He continues to speak eloquently as a motivational speaker and is a spokesperson for Unilever and blue seventy. He has also written a popular autobiography, documenting his life’s journey on land and in the water.
Maarten is also an inductee in the International Swimming Hall of Fame (2017).
Monique Wildschut, Netherlands, 1993
Monique Wildschut dominated the women’s professional marathon swimming circuit from the mid-1980’s to the early 1990’s. She crossed the English Channel in 8 hours 44 minutes in 1982 and had the fastest swim of the year in 1984 (8 hours 19 minutes). She was the fastest woman at the 32 km (20-mile) Traversée internationale du Lac St-Jean in Canada in 7 hours 46 minutes in 1983 and was second overall at the 64 km (40-mile) Traversée internationale du Lac St-Jean double-crossing in 17 hours 28 minutes in 1989. She is also an inductee in the International Swimming Hall of Fame (2016).
Ralph Willard, USA, 1981
Ralph Willard completed the 37 km (23-mile) la Descente ou remontée du Saguenay in 8 hours 40 minutes in 1963, in 13 hours 10 minutes in 1964, in 8 hours 25 minutes in 1966, and 8 hours 24 minutes in 1967 despite being 30 years older than many of his professional competitors.
Herman Willemsee, Netherlands, 1963
Herman Willemsee, known as the Flying Dutchman, dominated professional marathon swimming between 1960 and 1964, winning the 30 km (19-mile) Traversée internationale du Lac St-Jean Lac St Jean in Canada in 10 hours 7 minutes in 1961, in 9 hours 3 minutes in 1962 and in 8 hours 32 minutes in 1963, the 36 km (22.5-mile) Around-the-Island Marathon Swim in Atlantic City, USA five times from 1960 to 1964, the 24 km (15-mile) Canadian National Exhibition race in 1961 and 1962, the 37 km (23-mile) la Descente ou remontée du Saguenay in 6 hours 15 minutes in 1966, four 16 km (10-mile) Tois Riviere Swims in 1961 to 1963 in Canada, the 58 km (36-mile) Santa Fe-Coronda race in Argentina in 1963 with two third-place finishes in 1964 and 1966, 45 km (28-mile) Mar del Plato in Argentina, 42 km (26 miles) in the Suez Canal in Egypt, 88 km (54.6-mile) Hernandaras-Parana swim in Argentina and 32 km (20-mile) Maratona del Golfo – Capri-Napoli in Italy.
When the World Marathon Swimming Championships, whereby points were awarded for performance in a series of races, started in 1964, he finished second to the Swimming Honoree Abou-Heif the next three years. Herman is credited with changing the image of marathon swimming when he won the Canadian National Exhibition Swim in 1962. He was one of the first to use a scientific approach to a swim. For example, he studied the water conditions including temperature, to develop a race strategy. Teamed with Rejean Lacoursiere, he also won the initial La Tuque 24-hour team race in Canada in both 1965 and 1966. He is also an inductee in the International Swimming Hall of Fame (2008).
Jabez Wolffe, Great Britain, 1968
Jabez Wolffe made at least 22 unsuccessful English Channel attempts between 1906 and 1913. He was reported to have been beaten by yards in 1911 and by less than a mile on at least 3 other occasions. Jaberz was one of the first coaches to channel swimmers. His successes included the best women of his era, including Hilda Sharp in 1928, Margaret Duncan in 1930 and Sunny Lowry in 1933. He also wrote a number of books on swimming. Jaberz was the holder for ten long-distance records including 38 km (24-mile) Brighton to Worthing double-crossing, 54 km (34-mile) Margate to Herne Bay double-crossing in 9 hours 39 minutes, Southsea to Ryde double-crossing, Eddystone Lighthouse to Plymouth Pier and Dover to Ramsgate.
Steve Wozniak, USA, 1979
Steve Wozniak enjoyed a 50-year marathon swimming career. In 1937, he won the USA National five-mile championship. In 1957, he won the five- and ten-mile events at the Canadian National Exposition, the 54 km (32-mile) Nile River Swim in 1956 and in the 88 km (55-mile) Parana River swim in Argentina in 1961. He finished third in several 36 km (22.5-mile) Around-the-Island Marathon Swims in Atlantic City, USA. He died at the age of 71 while planning for his final English Channel attempt.
Feng Yao‑Hsien, China, 1973
At age 36, in 1964, Feng Yao-Hsein swam 85 km (53 miles) in the Tzuya River in China. In 1965, he swam 156 km (97 miles) in the same river to set a Chinese endurance record.
John York, USA, 1989
John York has the most successful crossings of the Catalina Channel, completing swims in 1976, 1977, 1978 and 1984, including the fastest double-crossing of 16 hours 42 minutes in 1978. He swam the English Channel in 1988 and has coached numerous swimmers across the Catalina Channel, including USA National Team swimmers, as well as run the Catalina Channel Swimming Federation for many years.
Bridget Young, Great Britain, 1988
Bridget Young crossed the English Channel in 9 hours 58 minutes in 1985.
George Young, Canada, 1963
17-year-old George Young was the sole finisher of the 1927 Wrigley Ocean Marathon across the Catalina Channel in 15 hours 44 minutes, winning the US$25,000 first prize. He is also an inductee in the International Swimming Hall of Fame (2014).
David Yudovin, USA, 1999
David Yudovin competed 14 solo swims including three swims across the Catalina Channel in 11 hours 51 minutes in 1976, in 13 hours 45 minutes in 1986, in 11 hours 49 minutes in 1993, and in 10 hours 46 minutes in 1995, between North Coronado Island to the Mexican coast in 6 hours 22 minutes in 1984, from South Coronado Island to the Mexican coast in 4 hours 6 minutes in 1991, from North Coronado Island to the Mexican coast in 7 hours 45 minutes in 1991, from the South Coronado Island to the Mexican coast in 4 hours 20 minutes in 1992 (repeated in 4 hours 25 minutes again in 1992 and in 4 hours and 15 minutes in 1993), the third person to swim across the Strait of Gibraltar from Morocco to Spain in 9 hours 27 minutes, the English Channel in 13 hours 37 minutes in 1986, the Santa Barbara Channel between Anacapa Island and the California mainland in 8 hours 27 minutes in 8 hours 27 minutes in 1982, 16 km (10 miles) from Lanai Island to Maui in Hawaii, USA in 4 hours 47 minutes in 2002, from Molokini Island to Maui, Hawaii, USA in 2 hours 6 minutes in 2002 (and again in 2003 in 2 hours 16 minutes), from Maui to Molokai in Hawaii, USA in 4 hours 41 minutes, 8 miles from Maui to Kahoolawe Island in Hawaii, USA in 4 hours 18 minutes, 16 km (10 miles) from Molokai to Lanai in Hawaii, USA in 5 hours 11 minutes in 2003, and across the 25 km (16-mile) Cook Strait from North Island to South Island in New Zealand in 9 hours 38 minutes in 2004.
David was the first swimmer to swim 30 km from Santa Cruz Island to the California coast in 15 hours 15 minutes in 1983, 30 km across the Tsugaru Channel in 11 hours 54 minutes in 1990, from Bali to Java in Indonesia in 1 hour 36 minutes in 1996, from Nusa Penida to Bali in Indonesia in 2 hours 48 minutes in 1997, across the Sunda Strait from Java to Sumatra, Indonesia in 10 hours 34 minutes in 2000, and from Cape Wiwiki to Cape Brett in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand in 5 hours 23 minutes in 2004.
David was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 2014 and received The Irving Davids/Captain Roger W. Wheeler Memorial Award in 2016 for his contribution to the administration of open water swimming.
Charles Zibleman, USA, 1966
Charles Zibleman, who did not have legs, completed a 233 km (145-mile) staged swim down the Hudson River in 147 hours in 1937, while he never left the water, losing 12 kg (26 lbs.) during his swim.
Jason Zirganos, Greece, 1971
Jason (Greek Ιάσων Ζηργάνος) was a Greek army major inducted as a Pioneer Swimmer, decorated by King Paul in 1949 for being the first Greek ever to swim the English Channel. He raced in the Daily Mail First International Cross English Channel Race in 1950 (16 hours 19 minutes) and 1951 (14 hours 1 minute). In 1957, he crossed the Catalina Channel in 17 hours flat and was a four-time Lake Windermere swimmer. He also successfully swam the Bosphorus, the Nile and twice swam around Manhattan Island in New York. He died attempting to swim the North (Irish) Channel from Orlock Head, Co. Down, Ireland to Portpatrick, Scotland when he lost consciousness and died despite the efforts of a doctor who cut him open with a penknife to massage his heart.