Heroes And Heroines In The Open Water

Heroes And Heroines In The Open Water

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

The Daily News analyzed the exploits of the 208 individuals currently inducted in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame and found some interesting facts:

– 70% are men and 30% are women.
– 42% of the inductees are affiliated with or have done the English Channel.
– 36% of the inductees have done professional marathon races.
– 33% of the inductees have completed an unprecedented swim.
– 15% of the inductees are race organizers or work in recognized governing bodies.
– 9% were Olympians
– 7% are or were authors or reporters of open water swimming.
– 4% are or were escort boat pilots.

Family ties seem to run deep among the Hall of Fame inductees:
– seven members of the Cavill Family: Fred, Ernest, Charles, Percy, Arthur, Syd and Dick.
– father Reg Brickell Sr. and brothers Reg Brickell Jr. and Ray Brickell
– two husband-and-wife teams: Roger and Valerie Parsons, Ray and Audrey Scott
– twins: Carole and Sarah Hunt
– father and daughter: Robert and Christine Cossette
– father and son: Ted and Jon Erikson
– brother and sister: Sid and Marian Cassidy
– mother and daughter: Freda and Alison Streeter

The inductees represent 31 different countries including 65 from America, 46 from Great Britain, 16 from Canada, 13 from Australia, 11 from Argentina, 8 from the Netherlands, 7 from Egypt, 5 from Germany, 5 from Spain, 4 from Italy, 3 from Hungary, 2 each from Ireland, India, United Arab Emirates, New Zealand, Yugoslavia, France, Brazil and Russia and 1 each from Cuba, Belgium, Portugal, Bulgaria, Croatia, Turkey, China, Greece, Denmark, Mexico, Peru and Pakistan.

Brojen Das of Pakistan (shown above), who passed away in 1998, is emblematic of the inductees. Brojen Das was the first Asian to swim across the English Channel and later became King of the Channel between 1960 – 1974.

In training for his first English Channel attempt the 1958 Butlin Channel swim against swimmers from 23 countries, he swam in the turbulent lower Megna River where his final training swim was 46 miles from Narayanganj to Chandpur and a non-stop 48-hour swim covering 60 miles in a Dhaka swimming pool. His training paid off when he won the men’s race against many of the world’s best at that time.

A hero in his home country, Brojen received the 1959 Pride of Performance Award from the Pakistan government. Later, the Bangladesh government gave him a national award in 1976 for his valuable contribution in the field of sports and games.

Heroes and heroines all who will be celebrated and showcased in a new and comprehensive International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame website to be launched shortly.

Copyright © 2010 by World Open Water Swimming Association
Steven Munatones