Diane Struble in 1959.  How Times Have Changed In The Open Water

Diane Struble in 1959. How Times Have Changed In The Open Water

In the Philadelphia Inquirer on August 16th 1959, it was reported that a 26-year-old mother of 3 children (ages 3, 5 and 6) completed a 11 hour 27 minute circumnavigation swim around Manhattan Island.

The article reported that the Diane Strublewas dissuaded from trying a second round trip and a crowd of 1,000 cheered Struble as she stepped ashore.” She later said, “I feel I could go around again, but they won’t let me” as she swam breaststroke most of the way.

The brief article from 1959 was a bit surprising for a few reasons:

  1. There are few contemporary 26-year-old single mothers with three children who are active marathon swimmers.
  2. Multiple Manhattan Island circumnavigation swims are now routinely attempted and completed a la Julie Ridge‘s double in 1983, Stacy Chanin‘s triple in 1984, and Jaimie Monahan‘s quadruple in 2020.
  3. Although there have been exceptions (namely, Marcos Díaz in 2007), a crowd of 1,000 cheering for a marathon swimmer at the finish in Manhattan Island is rare.
  4. Breaststroke marathon swims are rare (but they are achieved every so often a la Alan Jay Morrison).

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Steven Munatones