Croatian Coincidence

Croatian Coincidence

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

The humble Sandra Bucha will be inducted in the International Swimming Hall of Fame as an Honor Open Water Swimmer in June in Florida to add to her recognition as being selected as an Honour Swimmer in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame this September in Scotland

As she reflected upon her career in an era when men and women competed together head-on, she recalls her second- and third-place finishes overall in the renowned 32 km Traversée internationale du lac St-Jean in Quebec, Canada. In these races, she went head-to-head with John Kinsella, her teammate from Illinois, and Croatian Olympian Veljko Rogošić.

Veljko seemed like an awfully nice man,” Bucha recalls. “Other than his outswimming me in that first Lac St. Jean race [in 1974 8:06:37 to 8:09:35], a special note for me was that my father [Colonel Paul Bucha] was able to communicate with him in Croatian fluently. Prior to that time, I had never heard my father speak the language.”

But she reversed the placing in the following year:

1974 Traversée internationale du lac St-Jean Top 10 Results:

1. John Kinsella (USA) 7:54:17
2. Veljko Rogošić (Yugoslavia) 8:06:37
3. Sandra Bucha (USA) 8:09:35
4. Marwan Ghazzawi (Egypt) 8:15:46
5. Horacio Iglesias (Argentina) 8:28:45
6. Magdy Mandour (Egypt) 8:37:55
7. Marwan Saleh (Syria) 8:39:22
8. Johan Schans (Netherlands) 8:44:06
9. Claudio Plit (Argentina) and Raul Villagomez (Mexico) 8:59:35
10. Jon Erickson (USA) 9:08:08

1975 Traversée internationale du lac St-Jean Top 10 Results:

1. John Kinsella (USA) 7:36:57
2. Sandra Bucha (USA) 8:20:34
3. Veljko Rogošić (Yugoslavia) 8:53:57
4. Claudio Plit (Argentina) 9:03:20
5. Juan Faimberg (Argentina) 9:13:09
6. Ahmed Youssel Amin (Egypt) 9:15:57
7. Marawan Saleh (Syria) 9:19:40
8. Magdy Mandour (Egypt) 9:35:48
9. Maher Saleh (Syria) 9:42:16
10. Jon Erickson (USA) 10:03:46

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Steven Munatones