OPEN WATER

Open water swimming is a growing sport in British Columbia (BC) with swimmers tackling distances from 800m to over 90km 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 one of the longest recorded swims 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 whose 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. MSABC has a team of trained observers, many of them English Channel swimmers, who are happy to spend a day on the water documenting your swim. Our committee will then review the final documentation for ratification.

We are also documenting and maintaining records of marathon swims by British Columbians and in our BC waters. Below is a list of the swims we are aware of. If you would like your swim officially observed or 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

UNASSISTED SWIMS

British Columbia Unassisted Lake & River Swims

YearNameM/FFromLocationDistanceTime
1956Ann (Mundigel) MerawFBCOkanagan Lake67km25:01:00
1958Ann (Mundigel) MerawFBCOkanagan Lake88km32:12:00
1959Ann (Mundigel) MerawFBCOkanagan Lake51km16:14:00
1966Mike PowleyMBCKalamalka Lake18km
2002Laura HarrisFBCCowichan Lake34km9:30:00
2002Lee Ann Wilkinson-SirupFBCCowichan Lake34km9:40:00
2013Alex CapeFBCCowichan Lake34km
2013Susan SimmonsFBCCowichan Lake34km
2014Alex CapeFBCCowichan Lake70km32:00:00
2014Susan SimmonsFBCCowichan Lake70km32:00:00
2015Alex CapeFBCCowichan Lake91km56:00:00
2015Susan SimmonsFBCCowichan Lake44km20:00:00
2016Susan SimmonsFBCCowichan Lake34km16:00:00
2018Spirit Orcas (Cheyenne Furlong-Goos, Dixon McGowan, Drew Sabourin, Maria Sharock, Ben Vanlierop, and Aly White)M/FBCCowichan Lake34km14:00:00

Juan de Fuca Strait 30 km unassisted
distance based on straight line crossing, swimmers may have swum more

YearNameFromM/FDirectionTime
1955Bert ThomasWashingtonMUS-Can11:22
1956Cliff LumsdonOntarioMBC-WA11:35.
1956Amy HIlandCaliforniaFWA-BC10:51.
1956Ben LaughrenBCMWA-BC10:17
1956Marilyn BellONFWA-BC10:38
1989Vicki Keith
butterfly
ONFWA-BC14:01
2017Susan Simmons (swim log)BCFWA-BC10:06

NOTE: For other swims across Juan de Fuca Strait please visit our American counterpart, the North West Openwater Swim Association (NOWSA).

Strait Of Georgia 29km Unassisted

YearNameM/FFromTime
1967Ernst YacubMBC11:13:00
1967Mike PowleyMBC9:23:00
1972Fran CaldwellFBC
1978John McDermottMBC
1998Shane CollinsMBC9:55:00
2010Rod CraigMBC9:50:00
2010James MonkMBC9:35:00
2010Relay Team (Jim Close, Bill Burton, Mike Stamhuis Claire Both)M/FBC9:45
2012Okanagan Lake Monsters Relay Team
(Mike Stamhuis, Leora Dahl, Paul Duffield,
Tracey Sutton, Phred Martin, Denise Cesselli)
M/FBC
2014Rachel SchoelerFBC13:38
2015Jessi HarewiczFBC11:20

Bowen Island 30 km unassisted

YearNameFromM/FTime
1995Shane CollinsBCMunknown
1997Debbie CollinsBCFunknown
2008Brent HobbsBCM9:21
2010Mike HumphreysBCM11:20
2017Emily EppBCF10:45

Other Unassisted British Columbia Ocean Swims
continuous swims over 10 km.

YearNameFromM/FLocationDistanceTime
2016Susan SimmonsBCFOcean Falls-Bella Bellastaged 25km / 25km
2016Dale RobinsonBCMOcean Falls-Bella Bellastaged 15km / 11km
2017Susan SimmonsBCFLama Pass – Inside Passage10km / 10km
2018Susan Simmons  BCFLama Pass to Fisher Channelstaged 6km / 6km
2019Susan SimmonsBCFFisher, the Burke Namu & Koeye18km / 14km
2019Spirit Orcas (Cheyenne Furlong-Goos, Dixon McGowan, Drew Sabourin, Maria Sharock, Ben Vanlierop, and Aly White)M/FBCGunboat Pass to Bella Bella20KM
2019Susan SimmonsBCFHaro Strait16km

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

YearNameM/FTime
1951Winnie Leuszler RoachF13:25
1995Shane CollinsM13:59:00
2008Brent HobbsM10:44
2010Rod CraigM12:21
2013Okanagan Lake Monsters Relay Team (Mike Stamhuis, Leora Dahl, Tracey Sutton, Phred Martin, Denise Cesselli)M/F13:41
2016Scott Chris & Rachel SchoelerM/F
2017Jessi HarewiczF
2017Emily EppF11:57
2017Jessi HarewiczF17:34
2016Team Crazy Canucks: Elaine Davidson, Janet Robertson, Jamie Williams, John Ostrom, Chris Lough, Charlie LlewelvnM/F13:47

BC Swimmers in Other International Waters unassisted
distance based on straight line crossing, swimmers may have swum more

YearNameM/FLocationsDistanceTime
2018Jessi HarewiczFMercer Island20 km8:21.42
2018Jessi HarewiczFCatalina Channel32 km15:30.03
2019Nicholas DupreyMSwim Around Key West20 km4:54:31
2019Kisu Masters: Elaine Davidson, Janet Robertson, Janice JohnstonFCatalina Channel32 km13:40:23

ASSISTED SWIMS

Assisted British Columbia Ocean and Lake Swims
continuous swims over 10 km.

YearNameFromM/FLocationDistanceTimeAssistance
1992Fin DonnellyBCMStrait of Georgia29kmwetsuit
1993Fin DonnellyBCMStrait of Georgia29kmwetsuit
1993Fin DonnellyBCMFraser River stagedwetsuit
1994Fin DonnellyBCMStrait of Georgia29kmwetsuit
1994Fin DonnellyBCM9:45:0030km10:15wetsuit
1995Fin DonnellyBCMFraser River stagedwetsuit
1995Fin DonnellyBCMStrait of Georgia29kmwetsuit
1996Fin DonnellyBCMStrait of Georgia29kmwetsuit
2011Georgia Girls (Susan Simmons, Rhonda Renning Talbot, Karen Tannas, Jennifer Leach-Trask)BCFStrait of Georgia29km9:35:00wetsuit
2011Relay Team (Jim Close, Ken Simpson, Deborah Robertson, Kayleigh Robertson, Will Rogers)BCM/FStrait of Georgia29km9:45:00wetsuit
2016Jill YonedaBCFOcean Falls-Bella Bella25kmwetsuit, fins
2017Jill YonedaBCFStrait of Juan de Fuca WA-BC30km10:37wetsuit, fins

Interested in open water swimming? Here are 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, World Aquatics (formerly 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 kilometres.