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Monday, June 9, 2014

Three Is A Charm With The Park Family

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Tom Park, a 1998 Honour Swimmer in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame, Margaret Park, a 2000 Honour Swimmer in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame, and their brother George Park all participated in the 10-mile Hamilton Marathon Race, professional marathon swim on the World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation circuit in the 1960s.

This was the first time that 3 siblings participated in a single professional marathon race in memory.

It was a special family with one sister, Margaret, competing with and against three successful marathon swimming brothers in the 1960s.

In the 16 km Hamilton Marathon Swim in Ontario, Canada, 41 swimmers started, but only 9 finished: Margaret was the first woman and her brothers all finished.

Other major swims that she completed were 28 miles down the Saguenay River (once in each direction), 10 miles in Quebec City , 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 complete stranger. Her teammate 'vanished' after the second hour and Margaret completed the remainder of the 24 hours solo.

Brother Tom crossed the Catalina Channel in 1954 from Catalina Island to the California mainland in 13 hours 25 minutes, and from the California mainland to Catalina Island in 1956 in 9 hours 10 minutes. He was a member of the World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation. 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. Park and Lumsdon 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.

Photo of Tom Park courtesy of Channel Twenty-one.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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