Shier Mendelson Always Helping Others In The Open Water

Shier Mendelson Always Helping Others In The Open Water

When Shier Mendelson assisted fellow Canadian George Young across the Catalina Channel in January 1927, he was at the advanced age of 36.

The older swimmer clearly recognized the talent of the teenager when Young had beaten Mendelson in open water swims in their native Toronto.

After the pair returned to Toronto after Young’s victorious swim in the Wrigley Ocean Marathon, Mendelson turned his attention from winning and racing to participating and organizing open water events. As an advertising businessman in a non-swimming career, Mendelson was instrumental ‘behind the scenes’ in ensuring that top competitors from abroad were encouraged and sometimes assisted financially to travel to Canada to participate in the major marathon swims of the era in a desire to make the events internationally competitive.

Mendelson made the point, in which he defended publicly (in newspapers like the Ottawa Citizen) the practice of providing assistance to visiting American athletes on the grounds that it would make for better competition to have athletes who might not afford to make the journey otherwise and, very importantly, that the Canadian athletes were good enough to take on the best in the world anyway.

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