Back In Time: In 1977 With The Channel Swimming Association

Courtesy of Ned Denison, International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame.

At the 1977 Channel Swimming Association (CSA) Golden Jubilee (50th) dinner in Dover, there were three International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honorees present including a young Kevin Murphy who was inducted that same year [see photo above].

Fast forward 32 years later and 10 others in this group had achieved Honoree status (including the CSA itself as an Honor Organization). The powerhouse Egyptians were present as was the Sudanese swimmer Sultan Nijab.

1977 was also the Queen’s Silver Jubilee (25th) when Honorees Chris Guesdon and Sue Guesdon attended the Queen’s garden party at Buckingham Palace.

Alice Dearing, an elite racer from Birmingham England commented, “While black swimmers are still not a common sight in marathon swimmers, Sultan was one of the early pioneers. He was quickly followed by Charles Chapman in 1981 the first African American to cross to France.”

Honorees in the back row from left in the photo above include: Chris Guesdon; Major General Ahmed Zorkani, Tom Hetzel, PhD, Norman Trusty, Penny Lee Dean, PhD, and Michael P. Read, MBE.

Back row from right include Abdelmoneim Abdo, Honoree Tina Bischoff, and Peter Cox.

Honorees in the middle row from left include Cynthia Nicholas, CM, Stella Taylor, Commander Gerald Forsberg, OBE, RN, and Sunny Lowry, MBE.

Middle row on right includes Ned Barnie.

Lower row from the left include Etienne Van Audenaerde, Kevin Murphy, Sultan Nijab, Abla Adel Khairy, and Inas Haky.

Ned Denison, chairman of the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame observed, “While books and old media reports capture much of the history of marathon swimming, some of the best repositories of knowledge are Honorees of the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame. The WOWSA Live interviews are just one small attempt to capture some of their memories. During a recent interview, Honoree Dr. Jane Katz talked about meeting Gertrude Ederle, the sixth swimmer across the English Channel in 1926, in New York decades ago.

This led to the question – which other living IMSHOF Honorees met the early IMSHOF Honorees? As a historical measure, we used the English Channel crossing records. Honoree Marilyn Bell enjoyed her time with her coach Ernest Vierkoetter who was the 8th swimmer across also in 1926.

Gertrude Ederle and and Ishak Helmy

Honorees Dr. David Smith, Captain Nabil Elshazly, and Nasser Elshazly also have fond memories of meeting Ishak Helmy the 16th swimmer across in 1928. Certainly, more than 25 living Honorees knew Sunny Lowry, MBE, the 18th swimmer across in 1933 who served as President of the Channel Swimming Association between 2000 and 2007.

For completeness, the 12th swimmer, Mercedes Gleitze swam in 1927. Her daughter Doloranda Pember proudly represented her mother at her IMSHOF induction in Cork Ireland in 2013.

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