The Legacy Of Dale Petranech

The Legacy Of Dale Petranech

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

For decades, quietly and single-handedly over the course of decades, Dale Petranech kept alive the vision of International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame, and tirelessly continued the efforts of Buck Dawson.

Helping with the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame, FINA, the global initiative to get marathon swimming in the Olympics, record-keeping in the sport, and recognizing others was not initially in his life’s grand plan, but he rather stumbled across the opportunity and potential when he inadvertently walked into a small meeting at a United States Swimming conference in the late 1970’s,” recalled Steven Munatones. “He walked into that meeting not knowing the details and issues within the sport, and somehow walked out with a ton of responsibilities and action items to fulfill.

And he fulfilled them well indeed.”

Before he passed away in June 2019 at the age of 84, Petranech not only was inducted in the International Swimming Hall of Fame as an Honor Administrator in 1995, but he was similarly honored by the International Swimming Hall of Fame as an Honor Open Water Contributor in 2014. He also received the 2006 Irving Davids-Captain Roger Wheeler Memorial Award given by the International Swimming Hall of Fame, the 2019 ISHOF Service Award, and was the inaugural recipient of the Dale Petranech Award for Services to the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame.

Munatones continued, “Basically, it all started because he came up and administered the first 1-Hour Postal event in 1968 and it morphed into a lifelong dedication to the sport of open water swimming. Being around so many marathon swimmers, with Penny Dean in particular, Dale ended up completing a 32.2 km crossing of the Catalina Channel and swam around Manhattan Island twice.”

Nearly two years after his passing, we remember his words, vision, thoughts and memories in a decade-old WOWSA Live podcast:

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Steven Munatones