Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

At 17, Sandra Bucha retired and went off to college at Stanford.

One of the top freestylers in the world as a teenager, her competitive life in the pool was over.

Or so she thought.

But her coach Don Watson got her back into the swing of things by suggesting that she start competing in the open water. And what a fantastic career it was. Considered one of the finest female professional marathon swimmers in history, Bucha’s career was as brilliant as it was all too brief.

Today she was honored as an inductee in not only the International Swimming Hall of Fame, but also the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame on the Isle of Bute in Scotland. Her fiery spirit and passion for the game was all clearly evident.

Photo courtesy of Ram Barkai.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association