When The Top Swimmers In The Pool Went To The Open Water: 1971 Pan American Games

When The Top Swimmers In The Pool Went To The Open Water: 1971 Pan American Games

In looking through the archives of competitive pool swimming, WOWSA saw the results of the 1971 Pan American Games that were held in Cali, Colombia.

Among the open water swimming personalities – now well-known and much respected in the global open water swimming community – who competed in those races included:

  • Jorge Delgado of Ecuador, a long-time and influential voice with the FINA Technical Open Water Swimming Committee and Olympic 10K Marathon Swim referee, won the 200m butterfly setting a Pan American Games record of 2:06.41
  • Ron Jacks, Canada’s Olympic and national open water swimming coach, creator of COW Swimming, a website devoted to Canadian open water swimmers and coached Richard Weinberger to a bronze at the 2012 Olympic 10K Marathon Swim bronze medalist, finished 7th in the 200m butterfly in 2:13.0 and was a member of Canada’s silver medal 4x200m freestyle relay.
  • Jim McConica, a prolific masters swimmer, marathon swimmer, and channel swimmer including an 8 hour 40 minute English Channel crossing in 1988 at the age of 37, won silver in the 200m freestyle (1:58.18), gold in the 400m freestyle (4:08.97), and another gold in the 4x200m freestyle relay.
  • Sandy Neilson, a prolific open water swimming event director with the American Swimming Association and triple Olympic gold medalist from Austin, Texas, won the 100m freestyle in 1:00.60 [shown above].

All these great swimmers of the past continue providing guidance, services, and inspiration for generations to come.

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Steven Munatones