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OPEN WATER SWIMMING

Open water swimming is a growing sport in British Columbia (BC) with swimmers tackling distances from 800m to over 88km in both organized events and as solo events.

Annabelle "Ann" (Mundigel) Meraw (b 23 Feb 1917, Powell River) is one of our province’s most prolific open water swimmers completing the first ever swim from Vancouver (English Bay) to Bowen Island (22 km) in seven hours 14 minutes (1938). She also set a new world endurance record of 25 hrs 1 min and a world speed record of 51.2 km in 16 hrs 14 mins in Okanagan Lake. Her longest swim, and the longest recorded swim by a British Columbian, was 88 km in 32 hrs 12 mins in that same lake. Because of WWII she had to abandon plans to swim the English Channel. She retired in 1982 and was inducted into the BC Sports Hall of Fame in 1985.

Our organized open water swim events capture swims by a number of BC’s masters however there is a group of swimmers who have been swimming longer events as soloists who’s efforts have gone unrecorded. MSABC is pleased to ratify swims for those who are swimming in unregulated bodies of water in British Columbia for distances over 10km.

We are also interested in maintaining an archive of marathon swims by British Columbian’s and in our waters. Below is a list of the swims we are aware of.

If you would like your swim ratified or know of someone who should be added to the list below please contact us.

Lake Swims

Year Name Location Distance Time Conditions
1956 Ann (Mundigel) Meraw Okanagan Lake 67km 25:01:00
1958 Ann (Mundigel) Meraw Okanagan Lake 88km 32:12:00
1959 Ann (Mundigel) Meraw Okanagan Lake 51km 16:14:00
1966 Mike Powley Kalamalka Lake 18km
2002 Laura Harris Cowichan Lake 34km 9:30:00 unassisted
2002 Lee Ann Wilkinson-Sirup Cowichan Lake 34km 9:40:00 unassisted
2013 Alex Cape Cowichan Lake 33km unassisted
2013 Susan Simmons Cowichan Lake 33km unassisted
2014 Alex Cape Cowichan Lake 70km appx 32:00:00 unassisted
2014 Susan Simmons Cowichan Lake 70km appx 32:00:00 unassisted

Ocean Swims

Year Name Location Distance Time Conditions
1951 Winnie Leuszler Roach English Channel 35km 13:25 Unassisted. France to England
1967 Ernst Yacub Strait of Georgia 11:13:00 Neck to Mission Point
1967 Mike Powley Strait of Georgia 25.91km 9:23:00 Neck to Mission Point
1972 Fran Caldwell Strait of Georgia
1978 John McDermott Strait of Georgia
1995 Shane Collins English Channel 35 km 13:59:00 Unassisted.
1998 Shane Collins Georgia Strait 34 km 9:55:00 unassisted
2008 Brent Hobbs English Channel 35 km 10:44 Unassisted. Force 3. 15’C
2008 Brent Hobbs Bowen Island 30 km 9:21 Calm. 19’C
2010 Rod Craig English Channel 12:21 unassisted
2010 Rod Craig Strait of Georgia 9:50:00 unassisted
2010 James Monk Georgia Strait 9:35:00 unassisted
2010 Relay Team (Jim Close, Bill Burton, Mike Stamhuis Claire Both) Georgia Strait 34 km Wetsuits
2011 Georgia Girls (Susan Simmons, Rhonda Renning Talbot, Karen Tannas, Jennifer Leach-Trask) Georgia Strait 34 km 9:35:00 Wetsuits
2011 Relay Team (Jim Close, Ken Simpson, Deborah Robertson, Kayleigh Robertson, Will Rogers) Georgia Strait 34 km 9:45:00 Wetsuits
2012 Okanagan Lake Monsters Relay Team (Mike Stamhuis, Leora Dahl, Paul Duffield, Tracey Sutton, Phred Martin, Denise Cesselli) Georgia Strait 34 km 9:35:00 unassisted
2013 Okanagan Lake Monsters Relay Team English Channel (Mike Stamhuis, Leora Dahl, Tracey Sutton, Phred Martin, Denise Cesselli) 35 km 13:41 Unassisted. Force 2. 16’C
2014 Rachel Schoeler Strait of Georgia (Schooner Cove to Reception Point) appx. 30km 11:55.47 unassisted

Interested in open water swimming? Here’s a few links to help get you started: Vancouver Island - Thetis Lake Swim for MS

Lower Mainland – Vancouver Open Water Swim Association

Okanagan – Across the Lake Swim

Marathon swims are generally defined as non-stop swims in open bodies of water of at least 10 km (6.2 miles) in distance. This distance is accepted by the International Olympic Committee, FINA, many national swimming federations and the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame, although some define a marathon swimming distance as 15 miles, 25 km or 20 miles. It can also refer to Ultra marathon swims of distances greater than 10 kilometers.


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