The Daily News Of Open Water Swimming

To educate, entertain, and enthuse those who venture beyond the shore


Random News

Getting Marathon Swimming Into The Summer Olympics

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

n August 20th 1984, John York (8 hours 54 minutes 1 second), Rick Heltzel (9 hours 4 minutes 12 seconds), Mohamed Ibrahim Elwakeel (9 hours 23 minutes 6 seconds), Carol Lee Heltzel (9 hours 28 minutes 28 seconds), Alison Streeter (9 hours 33 minutes 0 seconds), Lamiaa Zahy (9 hours 52 minutes 30 seconds), and David Morgan (11 hours 23 minutes 0 seconds) raced from the Santa Catalina Island, across the Catalina Channel, and finished on Cabrillo Beach in Southern California in the post-1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games glow.

The swimmers swam further that the traditional 32.3 km course in order for the International Olympic Committee and FINA representatives could see the finish in a flat, sandy beach rather than climbing down a cliff face to the traditional (shorter) finish in the 1980s.

The successful 1984 LA Olympics had just been completed (held between July 28th and August 12th). Representatives from Great Britain, Egypt, and the USA wanted to showcase the potential of marathon swimming to the International Olympic Committee and the special channel race was set up.

While representatives of the IOC and FINA were impressed with the channel crossing, it was determined that a channel crossing was not a reasonable venue for future Summer Olympic Games.

But the idea of a marathon swim held at future Summer Games was seeded among key decision-makers.

The recommendation to use the Olympic rowing course to stage an open water 25km event at the Olympic Games was put forward to FINA by the FINA Long Distance Swimming Commission as part of its submission of draft rules to govern long distance swimming events under FINA jurisdiction. The FINA Long Distance Swimming Commission consisted of Gunnar Werner (who served as the FINA Bureau Liaison from Sweden), Dale Petranech (Chairman of the USA Swimming Open Water Swimming Committee), Roger Parsons (Secretary of British Swimming), Berry Rickards (Secretary of Australia Swimming Federation), and Monier Sabre (Egypt). This meeting took place in October 1988 in Cairo as part of the activities around the staging of the FINA 2nd World Cup of Long Distance Swimming.
Copyright © 2008-2018 by World Open Water Swimming Association

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top