DNOWS Header

Image Map

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Back In The Day…Swimming In The Dark In 1920

Tennessee native Eugene Thomas Bolden lived to be 92 years old living through World War I and World War II, and the invention of the motor vehicle and airplane to the microwave oven and personal computers.

Bolden was a swimmer through and through. He swam where opportunities arose.

In 1920, Bolden represented the United States at the 1920 Summer Olympics in Antwerp, Belgium where he swum the quarterfinals, semifinals and the final heat in the 1500-meter freestyle, finishing fifth with a time of 24:04 at the Stade Nautique d'Antwerp (see video below).

Later at the 1921 United States 10-mile swimming championships in Philadelphia, he swam faster than the other 39 swimmers from all parts of the U.S., Hawaii and Canada. He won the race by half a mile, swimming the distance in 2 hours 12 minutes, but was disqualified for not wearing a regulation swimsuit. James W. Hall Jr. of New York was announced the winner.

Given his open water swimming experience, Bolden was certainly prepared for the Olympic venue. The Stade Nautique d'Antwerp was first venue devoted to swimming that was built specifically for the Olympics, but the pool did not have lane lines and did not contain heated or chlorinated water. The water was described as cold and very dark that required the swimmers to be warmed up after every event.

But not to complain for Bolden and his Olympic teammates who included such crossover athletes and watermen like Norman Ross, Duke Kahanamoku, and Warren Kealoha.

Kealoha from Hawaii recalls the situation, "It wasn't easy for Hawaiians to get to the Olympics back in those days or I might have had a chance at my third Olympics in 1928. We had to break a world record before they could afford to send us to the Mainland. Then when we arrived by boat and out of shape, we had to beat all comers on the West coast, again in Chicago, and again in New York before we finally made the Olympic team."

But they certainly made history when they did.

Upper photo of the Stade Nautique d'Antwerp courtesy of the International Olympic Committee.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

A Thank You Gift from WOWSA

WOWSA is celebrating the
1-Year Anniversary of the monthly Open Water Swimming Magazine
by giving you a free copy of the anniversary issue.

Open Water Swimming Magazine Anniversary Issue
File Size: 13MB


Download the file to your computer, and then right-click to extract the magazine which is inside the zip folder. The magazine is in PDF format.

CLICK HERE to download your free copy now.

Open Water Swimming Magazine

Open Water Swimming Magazine

The Open Water Swimming Magazine is the monthly magazine entirely focused on open water swimming heroes and heroines of every age, ability, and background. Published by the World Open Water Swimming Association, the Open Water Swimming Magazine is a free benefit to WOWSA members.

WOWSA Member Benefits include 12 issues of the Open Water Swimming Magazine, the annual 276-page Open Water Swimming Almanac, a free listing in Sponsor My Swim, outstanding product discounts from FINIS, an entry in Openwaterpedia and more...

The Other Shore

The Other Shore follows world record holder and legendary swimmer Diana Nyad as she comes out of a thirty-year retirement to re-attempt an elusive dream: swimming 103 miles non-stop from Cuba to Florida without the use of a shark cage. Her past and present collide in her obsession with a feat that nobody has ever accomplished. At the edge of The Devil’s Triangle, tropical storms, sharks, venomous jellyfish, and one of the strongest ocean currents in the world, all prove to be life-threatening realities. Timothy Wheeler’s documentary brings Diana Nyad’s extraordinary adventure to life as Diana sets out to prove that will and determination are all you need to make the unimaginable possible.

2014 Open Water Swimming Almanac

An Almanac for Open Water Swimming

An almanac is essentially a body of knowledge which is so complete that it enables people in different fields to make predictions about the future of their respective industries.

This, for example, was the purpose of the traditional farmers almanacs. It enabled farmers to determine as accurately as possible which crops to plant for the greatest harvests in a given year.

But the farmers almanac was just one example among many.
There are, of course, many different kinds of almanacs.

In fact, there is even one for open water swimming...

Preview the Open Water Swimming Almanac:

The trends are very clear.
The tide is rising for open water swimming.


Open Water Swimming Event Sanctioning

World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation

Open Water Race Calendar

Coaches Education Program