Wickham, Great Swimming Genes Over The Generations

Wickham, Great Swimming Genes Over The Generations

Open water freestyler…body surfer and promoter…world-record high diver…surfer shaper…Alick Wickham was truly an open water swimming innovator and pioneer in the 19th century.

Alick, from Roviana Lagoon in the Solomon Islands, was credited with shaping the first surfboard in Australia, introducing freestyle to Australia and set the still-standing world high dive record at 62.4 meters (205 feet) while diving into the Yarra River.

Alick‘s affinity for the water was fortunately carried on to his subsequent generations.

It turns out that his great, great-granddaughter is Tracey Wickham, the great Australian 5-time world record holding freestyler of the late 1970s and early 1980s and member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.

Both Alick and Tracey were known for a high-tempo, rhythmic stroke and powerful kick. Tracey’s father, Roger Wickham, was also a champion surf lifesaver in Australia so the family genes and affinity for the water are strong. There are still Wickham relatives on the Solomon Islands.

Read about Tracey‘s exploits and story in her memoir, Treading Water, co-written with sports journalist Peter Meares. Treading Water is coming out in Australia in October.

A family of swimming heroes…and one great ongoing story.

Copyright © 2010 by Steven Munatones
Steven Munatones