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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Dr. Harry Huffaker To Be Honored In New York City

Dr. Harry Huffaker, a new member of the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame, will be honored with the other members of his Class of 2010/2011 in New York City during the Global Open Water Swimming Conference and Manhattan Island Marathon Swim weekend.

The International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame’s induction ceremony in June will welcome the newest Class who represent the very best of the global open water swimming community – dedicated and humble individuals committed to their sport.

The honorees range from the United States, Japan, Australia, Canada, Argentina, Ecuador, Morocco, Egypt, Great Britain and South Africa. It is a talented group who has succeeded against all odds while venturing past the shorelines time and time again.

Since Captain Matthew Webb, the first person to swim across the English Channel, was inducted in 1963, 217 other individuals have been recognized by the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame for their unprecedented adventures and world-class exploits in the oceans and across the lakes of the world.

Dr. Huffaker was a pioneer in swimming the dangerous channels in Hawaii. Throughout his illustrious career in the pre-GPS era, he has faced sharks up close, jellyfish, massive ocean swells and extremely 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, was the first person to cross the 9.3-mile Kalohi Channel (1989) from Molokai to Lanai and crossed the 8.5-mile Palilolo Channel from Maui to Molokai (1989).

A life well-swum...an honor richly deserved.

Copyright © 2011 by Open Water Source

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