Some Presidents Golf, Some Jog, Others Do Open Water

Some Presidents Golf, Some Jog, Others Do Open Water

Many American Presidents golf, some recent Presidents jog, but whatever you think of his politics, there has not been a President since President John Adams (the second president of the US) who has enjoyed the open water like President Obama. On his most recent vacation in Florida, the president was photographed swimming with his daughter Sasha at Alligator Point in Florida.

On his first widely-publicized vacation in Hawaii, President Obama was seen body surfing…with some style (see below).

So it is this President, given his upbringing in Hawaii – or is it the sign of the times when it seems so many individuals are taking to the open water?

But despite President Obama’s body surfing skills and comfort in the open water, it would be difficult to be more of an open water enthusiast in the White House than President John Adams (who governed between 1797–1801). President Adams relaxed by swimming every morning. In an era without swimming pools, he reportedly swam in the Potomac River.

Upstream or downstream, we do not know, but it was certainly without a wetsuit.

But there is a difference between open water swimming for leisure and open water swimming with bravery, lest we forget about President Kennedy who swam to help relieve his back pain, but also in time of war.

According to the Naval History and Heritage, “[Lieutenant John F.] Kennedy swam to these men…although they were only one hundred yards from the floating piece, in the dark it took Kennedy three hours to tow McMahon and help Harris back to the PT hulk.”

Because the remnant was listing badly and starting to swamp, Kennedy decided to swim for a small island barely visible (actually three miles) to the southeast. Five hours later, all eleven survivors had made it to the island after having spent a total of fifteen hours in the water. Kennedy had given McMahon a life-jacket and had towed him all three miles with the strap of the device in his teeth.”

After finding no food or water on the island, Kennedy concluded that he should swim the route the PT boats took through Ferguson Passage in hopes of sighting another ship. After Kennedy had no luck, Ross also made an attempt, but saw no one and returned to the island. Ross and Kennedy had spotted another slightly larger island with coconuts to eat and all the men swam there with Kennedy again towing McMahon.”

Now at their fourth day, Kennedy and Ross made it to Nauru Island and found several natives. Kennedy cut a message on a coconut that read “11 alive native knows posit & reef Nauru Island Kennedy.”


Upper photo of President Obama by Pete Souza/Reuters. Lower photos of the President taken at Sandy Beach on Oahu in Hawaii by the Associated Press.

Copyright © 2010 by Steven Munatones
Steven Munatones