Precursor Of The Future, 1930 Canadian National Exhibition

Precursor Of The Future, 1930 Canadian National Exhibition

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Nowadays, there are plenty of 10 km marathon swims where hundreds of competitors participate around the world (see marathon swim list here), but there are very few swims that are over 20 km where hundreds of swimmers compete even in today’s emerging open water swimming world.

But such as not the case 84 years ago.

At the 1930 Canadian National Exhibition race, a total of 272 swimmers competed in the 15-mile (24 km) competition that was touted as the world championship race.

With swimmers from all parts of Canada and the United States, there were also a blind swimmer (Michael Hambourg of Toronto), a Chinese competitor, a 235-pound swimmer from New Jersey (Robert Nester), and a woman (Anne Priller Benoit), and well-known professional swimmers like Marvin Nelson [who won], Clarence Ross, Ernst Vierkoetter, and George Young.

Five days prior to the event, a women’s 10-mile marathon swim was held where the top 6 swimmers were eligible to enter the 15-mile world championship race, but only Benoit decided to take on the male field.

Marathon swimming competition with hundreds of competitors…what goes around, comes around.

Photo courtesy of the City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1244, Item 1028A.

Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association
Steven Munatones