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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Cliff Lumsden Shocked The Highest Echelon Of The Sport

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

In the 1949 Canadian National Exhibition, a young Canadian from New Toronto shocked the professional marathon swimming world in the 15-mile championship.

Due to the 51°F (10.5°C) water, only three swimmers out of the original 82 finished. 18-year-old Clifford Lumsden won in 7 hours 54 minutes to win the $5,500 first prize plus $50 for each of the 15 laps plus $50 for the fastest mile. Lumsden handily beat Ben Gazil of Toronto (8 hours 21 minutes) and Bill Sadlo, Jr. of New York (9 hours 44 minutes).

How much was the $6,300 prize month in 1949 worth nowadays? An impressive $61,830.

That was certainly not a bad first prize for the young 18-year-old who was awarded the Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada's top athlete in 1949.

But there was nothing like the $84,000 that Lumsden received for his victory at the 1955 Across Lake Ontario race where he finished the 32-mile race in 19 hours 48 minutes. That $84,000 would be worth $744,123 today.

He later said that the only regret in his long career was giving up his amateur status before the 1948 London Olympics.

Copyright © 2016 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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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.

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