George Wendt Is Loved And Respected

George Wendt Is Loved And Respected

Braden Keith of SwimSwam reported that 73-year-old George Wendt died after suffering a heart attack during the Big Shoulders XXX in Lake Michigan in Chicago on September 11th.

Rescue operations commenced during the 30th edition of the annual race on a reported heart attack that occurred during the 5 km swim.

The former president of the Chicago Masters Swim Club received a doctorate in English Language and Literature and was an Assistant Professor at Benedictine University while working for Chicago Rolled Metal Products, a family-owned business in Chicago, for 30 years. When not leading students or managers on dryland, he was an avid ambassador of the sport, both in the pool and open water where he annually competed in the Big Shoulders event, winning twice.

Race director Chris Sheean wrote, “I write this with an incredibly heavy heart. For those who haven’t heard, today we lost George Wendt, a good friend, a role model, a swimming icon, and someone I will miss dearly. George was one of the best people I had the pleasure to call friend.  Always positive with a smile, George was the guy who made going to the pool at 5:15 seem like a privilege, rather than a chore.  He died doing something he loved, open water swimming.  We will have more in the days ahead, but in the meantime, please send any photos you had of George from the race, or from the race in general, to post [here].”

George Wendt at the 2011 Big Shoulders Swim with other legends Bill Mulliken and Peder Dahlberger

Keith reported that Wendt set Masters World Records in his career in the 400 IM in the 65-69 age group in 2012 and the world record in the 1500 at the 2008 U.S. Masters Nationals, though that record has since been broken. He also broke 7 US Masters Swimming World Records in his career.

A tribute was held in his memory at Promontory Point in Chicago on Sunday.

George Wendt, courtesy of Eric Johnson

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