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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Swimming Across Lake Michigan And Watching History

During the 2012 Global Open Water Swimming Conference, Greta Andersen will speak and engage the audience on a number of her swims: racing 5 times across the English Channel, getting pulled from the Molokai Channel due to sharks, completing the first two-way crossing of the Catalina Channel, and racing in Lake Michigan. She will show videos of a number of professional marathon swims from her illustrious career and describe her swims at the 1948 London Olympic Games.

One of the vintage films that she will show includes the historic Lake Michigan Swism with footage that was edited by her friend and colleague/competitor Ted Erikson who converted the vintage footage to DVD.

Erikson explained, "Based on several failures by Joe Griffith and Harry Briggs in previous years, several Lake Michigan pro swims were launched by Jim Moran (the Courtesy Man) in the early 1960s." Moran, who built the largest car dealership in the United States, was an avid supporter of swimming. He developed amateur and 3 renowned professional races in his backyard of the vast Lake Michigan:

In 1961, Erikson earned US$3,675 for the 36.75-mile race from Chicago, Illinois to Michigan City, Indiana in 36 hours 37 minutes

In 1962, Dennis Matuch won US$4,000 for the 36.75-mile race to Waukegan, Illinois in 21 hours 10 minutes.

During the same race, Andersen continued onward to win US$10,000 by swimming to the 50-mile point at Kenosha, Wisconsin in 31 hours.

In 1963, Abdul Latif Abou-Heif won US$15,000 for the 60-mile race to St. Joseph, Michigan in 34 hours 45 minutes.

Erikson, who competed in each of the swim, recalls, "Seeking publicity for his car dealership and not anticipating anyone would finish, the prize money broke the budget and no further swims were offered."

To kick things off in August 1961, 6 swimmers dove off McCormick Place in Chicago to swim to Michigan City, Indiana. Mary Margaret Revell retired at 4 miles; Dennis Matuch retired at 6 hours; Elmer Korbai retired at 27 miles and the two Simicek sisters hung on into darkness and stopped at 29 miles.

Erikson, who swam to give himself time to think and exercise, found himself automatically moved from fourth to first. He slowly struggled to complete the remaining distance to finish in 36 hours 37 minutes. His success attracted attention and a deeper field the following year.

One year later, Matuch, Erikson, Jim Wood, Elmer Korbai, Ed Kirk, Andersen, Cynthia Julian, Carol Urist and Britt Sullivan jumped in the fray. Erikson recalls, "Dennis, Greta and Cynthia led the pack but Dennis just beat Greta to the 36.75-mile finish. Greta went on the the 50-mile point with me as everyone else dropped out. Greta won $10,000 while I was a research subject for a medical study and followed several hours later for finish in 35 hours 45 minutes."

16 swimmers from 6 countries stepped it up in 1963 when Moran increased the distance to a seemingly impossible 60 miles. One year to the hour since the 1962 race, the field started at Burnham Harbor. Erikson remembers as if it were yesterday. "Abou-Heif, Greta, and an Argentine swimmer set a fast early space followed by myself and others. Throughout the afternoon swimmers dropped out leaving only Abou-Heif ahead of me by about a mile by evening. In the darkness, my handlers cut all lights on the boat. We crept to within a quarter mile of About before our tactic was recognized. He burst away to win as I kept on swimming to finish in 37 hours 42 minutes, gaining a disturbing title of the best second place finisher in these races. Piqued, those swims prompted a solo 1965 double English Channel crossing in 30 hours 3 minutes, lowering the [then-existing] record by 13 hours."

While the races were disbanded, Erikson recalls other long swims in Lake Michigan. "In 1971, my son Jon at the age 16 swam from Michigan City to Chicago in 24 hours 30 minutes to break my record [of the 1961 course]. Later, in 1988 Vicki Keith made a Lake Huron crossing in 46 hours followed in later lake crossings by Paula Stephenson and Jim Dryer (in a wetsuit)."

Watch this history at the 2012 Global Open Water Swimming Conference on the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California ... and listen to the vivacious Andersen explain how she trained and the ambiance of her era. "I used to train 10 miles a day in Long Beach, California [very near where the Queen Mary currently is located]. With a paddler at my side, but no goggles!"

Copyright © 2012 by World Open Water Swimming Association

1 comment:

  1. Nice article. Researching in a major library, I ran across a fascinating audio interview of Britt Sullivan that I believe has been buried for 50 years. I was wondering if anyone knows any details about the family or whereabouts of the family or friends of Britt Sullivan. Was Sullivan her married or maiden name? What is/was the name of her offspring? thanks in advance dblazek64@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete

Thank you very much for your interest in the world of open water swimming.

The Staff of the World Open Water Swimming Association

2014 Global Open Water Swimming Conference

Learn more...
Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

2014 Global Open Water Swimming Conference Agenda


Friday, 19 September

5:30

PM


Welcome Reception at Mount Stuart House, Isle of Bute, Scotland

Documentary films shown throughout the reception:

Blue Journey-Amerika Samoa – Stronger Together: The Waterman’s Way
(film by Bruckner Chase)

Dancing With The Water, Crossing of Lake Pontchartrain
(film by Wayne Ewing about Matthew Moseley's Lake Pontchartrain crossing)

Bering Strait Swim Chukotka - Alaska
(film by Admiral Konstantin Sidenko about the relay between Russia and Alaska)

The Clean Swim – Hong Kong to Macau
(film about Simon Holiday's Pearl River Delta crossing)


Saturday, 20 September

9:00

AM


Registration and Coffee at Mount Stuart House, Isle of Bute, Scotland

10:00

AM


Keynote Speech:
Colleen Blair (Scotland) on The History of Scottish Swimming

10:20

AM


Christopher Guesdon (Australia) on Multidimensional Roles In The Sport

10:30

AM


Colin Hill (England) on Recent Explosion in UK Open Water

10:50

AM


Shelley Taylor-Smith (Australia) on The Feminine Code of Achievement - How a Lady from Down Under Revolutionized Professional Marathon Swimming

11:10

AM


Simon Murie (England) on Open Water Swimming Holidays: How A New Sector Was Created Within The Travel Industry

11:30

AM


Swimming The Oceans Seven
A round table discussion moderated by:
Kevin Murphy (England), with Stephen Redmond (Ireland), Anna-Carin Nordin (Sweden),
Darren Miller (USA), Adam Walker (England), Kimberley Chambers (New Zealand)

12:30

PM


Coffee and Break

1:00

PM


World Open Water Swimming Awards Luncheon:
with co-hosts Shelley Taylor-Smith (Australia) and Steven Munatones (USA)

Pádraig Mallon (Ireland), 2013 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year

Olga Kozydub (Russia), 2013 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year

Bering Strait Swim, 2013 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year

Honoring: Vladimir Chegorin, Maria Chizhova, Elena Guseva, Ram Barkai, Jack Bright, Oksana Veklich, Aleksandr Jakovlevs, Matías Ola, Henri Kaarma, Toomas Haggi, Nuala Moore, Anne Marie Ward, Toks Viviers, Melissa O’Reilly, Ryan Stramrood, Cristian Vergara, Craig Lenning, Rafal Ziobro, Andrew Chin, Jackie Cobell, James Pittar, Paolo Chiarino, Mariia Yrjö-Koskinen, Ivan Papulshenko, Zdenek Tlamicha, Zhou Hanming, Oleg Adamov, Andrei Agarkov, Alekseev Semen, Tatiana Alexandrova, Roman Belan, Elena Semenova, Alexander Brylin, Afanasii Diackovskii, Vladimir Nefatov, Evgenii Dokuchaev, Oleg Docuckaev, Roman Efimov, Dmitrii Filitovich, Olga Filitovich, Victor Godlevskiy, Olga Golubeva, Alexei Golubkin, Alexander Golubkin, Alexandr Iurkov, Oleg Ivanov, Pavel Kabakov, Eduard Khodakovskiy, Aleksandr Komarov, Aleksandr Kuliapin, Andrey Kuzmin, Irina Lamkina, Vladimir Litvinov, Andrey Mikhalev, Victor Moskvin, Nikolay Petshak, Sergey Popov, Vladimir Poshivailov, Grigorii Prokopchuk, Dmitrii Zalka, Natalia Seraya, Viacheslav Shaposhnikov, Olga Sokolova, Andrei Sychev, Alexei Tabakov, and Nataliia Usachaeva [represented by Admiral Konstantin Sidenko and Nuala Moore]


2:30

PM


Alexey Salmin Pavlovich (Russia) and Dmitry Dragozhilov (Russia)
on the 2016 Winter Swimming World Championships [film]

2:50

PM


Sally Minty-Gravett (Jersey) on Motivating Swimmers

3:10

PM


Dmitry Blokhin (Russia) and Aleksei Veller (Russia)
on the First World Ice Swimming Championships [film]

3:30

PM


Matthew Moseley (USA)’s Dancing With The Water, Crossing of Lake Pontchartrain [film]

3:50

PM


Simon Holliday (England) and Doug Woodring (Hong Kong)’s The Clean Swim – Hong Kong to Macau 2014 [film]

5:00

PM


International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF)
and International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame (IMSHOF)

IMSHOF Induction Ceremonies and Dinner
with co-hosts Shelley Taylor-Smith (Australia) and Steven Munatones (USA).

Recognition of International Swimming Hall of Fame honorees:

  • Elizabeth Fry (USA), IMSHOF Honour Swimmer

  • Vojislav Mijić (Serbia), IMSHOF Honour Swimmer

  • James Anderson (USA), IMSHOF Honour Administrator

  • Dr. Jane Katz (USA), IMSHOF Honour Administrator

  • Indonesian Swimming Federation Open Water Committee (Indonesia), IMSHOF Honour Organisation

  • Melissa Cunningham (Australia), Irving Davids – Captain Roger Wheeler Award by the International Swimming Hall of Fame and IMSHOF Honour Swimmer

  • Sandra Bucha (USA), ISHOF Honor Open Water Swimmer and IMSHOF Honour Swimmer

  • Jon Erikson (USA), ISHOF Honor Open Water Swimmer and IMSHOF Honour Swimmer [represented by Sandra Bucha]

6:30

PM


International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) Introduction Video.
Welcome speech by host Shelley Taylor-Smith (Australia)

6:45

PM


Dinner

7:30

PM


International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF)
Induction Ceremonies and Dinner with host Shelley Taylor-Smith (Australia)

Recognition of International Swimming Hall of Fame honorees:

  • Mercedes Gleitze (England)
    ISHOF Honor Pioneer Swimmer and IMSHOF Honour Swimmer
    [represented by daughter Doloranda Pember]

  • Dale Petranech (USA)
    ISHOF Honor Contributer and IMSHOF Honour Administrator

  • Claudio Plit (Argentina)
    ISHOF Honor Open Water Swimmer and IMSHOF Honour Swimmer
    [represented by Shelley Taylor-Smith]

  • Judith van Berkel-de Nijs (Netherlands)
    ISHOF Honor Open Water Swimmer and IMSHOF Honour Swimmer
    [represented by Niek Kloots]

  • George Young (Canada)
    ISHOF Honor Pioneer Swimmer and IMSHOF Honour Swimmer
    [represented by the Catalina Channel Swimming Federation]

  • David Yudovin (USA)
    ISHOF Honor Open Water Swimmer and IMSHOF Honour Swimmer


Sunday, 21 September

9:00

AM


Registration and coffee at Mount Stuart House, Isle of Bute, Scotland

10:00

AM


Nuala Moore (Ireland) on The Mindset of 1000m at 0ºC

10:20

AM


Admiral Konstantin Sidenko (Russia)’s Bering Strait Swim Chukotka - Alaska in 2013 [film]

10:40

AM


Ned Denison (Ireland) on Swimming The World

11:00

AM


Bruckner Chase (USA)’s Blue Journey-Amerika Samoa
Stronger Together: The Waterman’s Way
[film]

11:20

AM


Rok Kerin (Slovenia) on Lifestyle Benefits From Open Water Swimming

12:00

PM


Survey distribution and group photo-taking

2:00

PM


Swim at Stravvana Bay, Isle of Bute






CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR THE CONFERENCE

The Global Open Water Swimming Conference is a conference on the sport of open water swimming, marathon swimming and swimming during triathlons and multi-sport endurance events.

The conference which has been attended by enthusiasts and luminaries from 6 continents, is devoted to providing information about the latest trends, race tactics, training techniques, equipment, psychological preparation, race organization and safety practices used in the sports of open water swimming, marathon swimming and triathlons.

The conference's mission is to provide opportunities to listen and meet many of the world's most foremost experts in open water swimming, and to meet and discuss the sport among swimmers, coaches, administrators, event organizers, sponsors, vendors, officials, escort pilots, and volunteers from kayakers to safety personnel.

Dozens of presentations at the 2014 Conference at the Mount Stuart House cover numerous aspects of the vast and growing world of open water swimming where attendees can learn and share the latest trends, race tactics, training modalities, swimming techniques, equipment, race organization, logistics, operations, and safety practices for open water swimming as a solo swimmer, competitive athlete, fitness swimmer, masters swimmer, triathlete, multi-sport athlete, administrator, race promoter, sponsor or referee.

The conference was first held in Long Beach, California as part of the 2010 USA Swimming National Open Water Swimming Championships. It has since been held on the Queen Mary in California, at Columbia University and the United Nations in New York City, and in Cork, Ireland. This year in September, it comes to another iconic location, the Mount Stuart House on the Isle of Bute in Scotland.

"The Global Open Water Swimming Conference was started due to the desire and need for athletes, coaches, referees, administrators, race directors, promoters and sponsors from around the world to share, collect and learn information about the growing sports of open water swimming, marathon swimming and triathlons," said founder Steven Munatones. "Other swimming conferences usually offering nothing on open water swimming or perhaps a speech or two, but we thought open water swimming deserves its own global conference. It is great that the community shares its information via the online social network, but there is nothing like meeting other open water swimming enthusiasts face-to-face and talking about the sport from morning to night."

Speakers at the conference include English Channel swimmers, ice swimmers, record holders, renowned coaches, world champions, professional marathon swimmers, renowned race directors, officials and administrators from the Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania.

"Because the audience is passionate and educated about the sport and its finest practitioners, the Global Open Water Swimming Conference is also the location of the induction ceremonies for the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame and the annual WOWSA Awards that recognize the World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year, the World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year, the World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year, and the World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year. Special Lifetime Achievement Awards are also occasionally presented to individuals who have made significant contributions to the sport over their career."


Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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