Great Moves In Open Water Swimming History – Lake Michigan

Great Moves In Open Water Swimming History – Lake Michigan

Great Moves In Open Water Swimming History – Lake Michigan

Courtesy of World Open Water Swimming Association.

The World Open Water Swimming Association offers a series of talks about open water swimming. One series includes Great Moves In Open Water Swimming History.

This is Part 1.

We believe the greatest single tactical move during professional marathon swimming history was when American Ted Erikson turned the lights off on his escort boat and gradually caught up with the unsuspecting Abdul Latif Abou Heif of Egypt during the 60-mile Jim Moran Lake Michigan Swim Challenge of 1963.

Purposefully turning off the lights and swimming stealth during the nighttime hours was audacious and risky, but ultimately Abou Heif’s team became aware of Erikson who had significantly cut into this lead and the officials instructed Erikson’s crew to turn their lights back on.

Erikson’s move was bold, effective, and unprecedented, and will forever be noted as a clever countermove against a physically superior opponent. Erikson, a true deep thinker, used his guile and guts in an attempt to level the playing field. But Abou Heif, considered the greatest marathon swimmer of the 20th century, was unhappy with being surprised and ultimately pulled after and won in a 34 hours 45 minute victory over Erikson’s 37 hour 25 minute swim.

Conrad Wennerberg, Chairman Emeritus of the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame, gives a first-hand account of this swim and these athletes in his authoritative book Wind, Waves and Sunburn: A Brief History of Marathon Swimming.

Photos of Ted Erikson courtesy of the Tribune Newspaper.

* Great Moves In Open Water Swimming History – Lac St-Jean is here
* Great Moves In Open Water Swimming History – Marine Stadium is here
* Great Moves In Open Water Swimming History – Mount Everest is here
* Great Moves In Open Water Swimming History – Beijing is here
* Great Moves in Open Water Swimming History – Rome is here

Copyright © 2008 – 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association
Steven Munatones