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Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Triumph And Tragedy Of A Greek Marathon Hero

Of the 218 inductees in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame, Jason Zirganos is the only honoree from Greece.

Jason (Greek Ιάσων Ζηργάνος) was a Greek army major and was the first Greek to successfully swim the English Channel. He raced in the Daily Mail First International Cross English Channel Race in 1950 (16 hours and 19 minutes) and 1951 (14 hours and 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 and in the Nile.

But his career was tragically cut short when he died attempting to swim the North (Irish) Channel from Orlock Head, Co. Down, Ireland to Portpatrick, Scotland. On his second attempt and within three miles of his goal, he lost consciousness and died despite the efforts of a doctor who attempted to save him by cutting open his chest with a penknife in order to massage his heart.

Copyright © 2010 by Open Water Source

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