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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 sanction and ratify swims for those who are swimming in 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 observed, ratified or know of someone who should be added to the list below please contact us.

Note:

  • unassisted = swimsuit, cap and goggles only
  • assisted = wetsuit or other assistive device

British Columbia Lake Swims

Year Name M/F From Location Distance Time Type
1956 Ann (Mundigel) Meraw F BC Okanagan Lake 67km 25:01:00
1958 Ann (Mundigel) Meraw F BC Okanagan Lake 88km 32:12:00
1959 Ann (Mundigel) Meraw F BC Okanagan Lake 51km 16:14:00
1966 Mike Powley M BC Kalamalka Lake 18km
2002 Laura Harris F BC Cowichan Lake 34km 9:30:00 unassisted
2002 Lee Ann Wilkinson-Sirup F BC Cowichan Lake 34km 9:40:00 unassisted
2013 Alex Cape F BC Cowichan Lake 34km unassisted
2013 Susan Simmons F BC Cowichan Lake 34km unassisted
2014 Alex Cape F BC Cowichan Lake 70km 32:00:00 unassisted
2014 Susan Simmons F BC Cowichan Lake 70km 32:00:00 unassisted
2015 Alex Cape F BC Cowichan Lake 91km 56:00:00 unassisted
2015 Susan Simmons F BC Cowichan Lake 44km 20:00:00 unassisted
2016 Susan Simmons F BC Cowichan Lake 34km 16:00:00 unassisted

British Columbia - Strait Of Georgia - 29km

Year Name M/F From Time Type
1967 Ernst Yacub M BC 11:13:00
1967 Mike Powley M BC 9:23:00
1972 Fran Caldwell F BC
1978 John McDermott M BC
1998 Shane Collins M BC 9:55:00 unassisted
2010 Rod Craig M BC 9:50:00 unassisted
2010 James Monk M BC 9:35:00 unassisted
2010 Relay Team (Jim Close, Bill Burton, Mike Stamhuis Claire Both) M/F BC 9:45 assisted
2011 Georgia Girls (Susan Simmons, Rhonda Renning Talbot, Karen Tannas, Jennifer Leach-Trask) F BC 9:35:00 assisted
2011 Relay Team (Jim Close, Ken Simpson, Deborah Robertson, Kayleigh Robertson, Will Rogers) M/F BC 9:45:00 assisted
2012 Okanagan Lake Monsters Relay Team
(Mike Stamhuis, Leora Dahl, Paul Duffield,
Tracey Sutton, Phred Martin, Denise Cesselli)
M/F BC unassisted
2014 Rachel Schoeler F BC 13:38 unassisted
2015 Jessi Harewicz F BC unassisted

British Columbia - Strait of Juan de Fuca - Traditional 29.5 km
distance based on straight line crossing, swimmers may have swum more

Year Name From M/F Direction Time Type
1955 Bert Thomas Washington M US-Can 11:22 unassisted
1956 Cliff Lumsdon Ontario M BC-WA 11:35. unassisted
1956 Amy HIland California F WA-BC 10:51. unassisted
1956 Ben Laughren BC M WA-BC 10:17 unassisted
1956 Marilyn Bell ON F WA-BC 10:38. unassisted
1989 Vicki Keith ON F WA-BC 14:01 unassisted, butterfly
1994 Fin Donnelly BC M WA-BC 10:15 assisted
2017 Jill Yoneda BC F WA-BC 10:37 assisted
2017 Susan Simmons BC F WA-BC 10:06 unassisted
NOTE: For other swims across Juan de Fuca Strait please visit our American counterpart, the North West Openwater Swim Association (NOWSA).

Other British Columbia Ocean Swims
continuous swims over 10 km.

Year Name From M/F Location Distance Time Type
2008 Brent Hobbs BC M Bowen Island 30 km 9:21 unassisted
2016 Susan Simmons BC F Ocean Falls-Bella Bella 25km / 25km unassisted
2016 Dale Robinson BC M Ocean Falls-Bella Bella 15km / 11km unassisted
2016 Jill Yoneda BC F Ocean Falls-Bella Bella 25km unassisted
2017 Susan Simmons BC F Lama Pass - Inside Passage 10km / 10km unassisted
.

BC English Channel Swimmers - Traditional 34km
distance based on straight line crossing, swimmers may have swum more

Year Name M/F Time Type
1951 Winnie Leuszler Roach F 13:25 unassisted. France to England
1995 Shane Collins M 13:59:00 unassisted
2008 Brent Hobbs M 10:44 unassisted
2010 Rod Craig M 12:21 unassisted
2013 Okanagan Lake Monsters Relay Team (Mike Stamhuis, Leora Dahl, Tracey Sutton, Phred Martin, Denise Cesselli) M/F 13:41 unassisted
2016 Scott Chris & Rachel Schoeler M/F unassisted
2017 Jessi Harewicz F unassisted
2017 Emily Epp F 11:57 Unassisted

Interested in open water swimming? Here’s a few links to help get you started:

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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