1982 Windermere International Championships

Courtesy of WOWSA, Lake Windermere, England.

On August 7th 1982, a number of athletes gathered for the 26 km Windermere International Championships held under the auspices of the ASA and British Long Distance Swimming Association.

The course was 26 km from Bowness to Lakeside to Ambleside in Lake Windermere. Organized and adjudicated by Alan Humphries (Honorary General Secretary of the British Long Distance Swimming Association) as well as Commander C. Gerald Forsberg, OBE (President of the British Long Distance Swimming Association), M. Pike (Vice President of the British Long Distance Swimming Association), E. Robinson, M. Smith, M. Hinchliffe, J. O’Hara, J. Slater, C. Everitt, G.T. Smith, M. Toft, M. Ferguson, A. Smith, R. Hinchliffe, C. Walker, J. France, B. Dove, Dr. L. Walkden, Dr. I. Hampton, Dr. D.J. Hunt, Commander F. St. Golden, P. Miller, M. Walker, G. Oddie, and L. O’Hara, Commander Forsberg opened up the event with the following message, “Personally, and on behalf of the British Long Distance Swimming Association, I welcome the swimmers and the team administrators from so many different countries. This Association has been using Lake Windermere for Championship swims since 1957 and it is an immense pleasure to share it now with our friends from aboard. The winners of this race can surely rate themselves as world class champions – and all others who complete the course can consider themselves swimmers high above all those who compete in heated indoor pools. As a matter of face, long distance swimming is one sport in which there are no real losers because every person who can complete 16 miles in open water conditions wins a very satisfying personal battle with the elements. I do wish all our visitors a thoroughly enjoyable day and hope that they take many happy memories away with them.”

The organizing committee explained the history of the event:

For one to appreciate the true history of the Windermere International Championships, it is necessary to go back even prior to the formation of the British Long Distance Swimming Association; when following an exchange of correspondence via the Swimming Times, a small band of enthusiasts met in Huddersfield with the expressed intention of forming some Association to foster and encourage the sport. From this tiny spark, a small flame emerged at the inaugural meeting of the British Long Distance Swimming Association held at Leeds in 1956, when the suggestion of an International Championship was first put forward.

Ten years of hard work and the formation of many other championships ranged throughout Great Britain, finally culminated in the first International Championship in 1966, and subsequent championships have been held every fourth year, making in effect the long distance swimmers Olympiad. During this time, the British Long Distance Swimming Association has twice made approaches to the International Olympic Committee through the Amateur Swimming Association, urging that a Marathon Swim be included in the Games programme.

Support for such an event has gradually increased over the years and more nations are now taking an interest in the sport. Today’s entry, which is by far the most representative ever to have competed in amateur long distance swimming, must give added impetus towards full recognition and the eventual inclusion of such an event in the Olympic programme.

Eventually, the event was on the British Long Distance Swimming Association and international calendar from 1966 to 1990, held every 4 years. There were four secretaries; longest serving was Ken Bailey for 11 years.

Male Competitors:
1. Ulrich Haevecker (Germany)
2. Tom Brouwer (Holland)
3. Christos S. Fessas (Greece)
4. Roman Krajčović (Czechoslovakia)
5. Mike Read (England)
6. David Morgan (England)
7. Stephen Dockery (England)
8. Martin Richards (Wales)
9. J. Hamish Winter (Scotland)
10. Kevin McIntosh (Scotland)
11. Ronald MacDonald (Scotland)
12. Bruck Becket (Scotland)
13. Roberto Chimiso (Italy)
14. Gyula Hajós (Hungary)
15. Osama ElShazly (Egypt)
16. Sameh ElShazly (Egypt)
17. Saleh Nandour (Egypt)
18. Steven Munatones (USA)

USA Swimming team coach and English Channel record holder Penny Dean with Cindy Patterson

Female Competitors:
1. Irene van der Laan (Holland)
2. Irena Holemewska (Poland)
3. Jana Dvořáková (Czechoslovakia)
4. Elizabeth Jane Horner (New Zealand)
5. Belinda Anne Shields (New Zealand)
6. Zeitzen Vera (Belgium)
7. Linda Ann Hargreaves (Northern Ireland)
8. Deborah Banks (Jersey)
9. Julie Bradshaw (England)
10. Sarah Hunt (England)
11. Karen Toole (England)
12. Alison Roberts (Wales)
13. Phyllis Sullivan (Scotland)
14. Andrea Vianello (Italy)
15. Cindy Patterson (USA)
16. Sara Adual Aziz (Egypt)

Men’s Results:
1. Steven Munatones 6 hours 11 minutes 45 seconds
2. Tom Brouwer 6 hours 48 minutes 46 seconds
3. Steve Dockery 7 hours 19 minutes 6 seconds
4. Osama ElShazly 7 hours 19 minutes 52 seconds
5. David Morgan 7 hours 20 minutes 24 seconds
6. Martin Richards 7 hours 48 minutes 8 seconds
7. Saleh Nandour 7 hours 52 minutes 7 seconds
8. Bruck Becket 8 hours 54 minutes 12 seconds
9. J. Hamish Winter 9 hours 0 minutes 50 seconds
10. Mike Read 9 hours 19 minutes 0 seconds
11. Kevin McIntosh 10 hours 0 minutes 20 seconds
12. Christos S. Fessas 10 hours 20 minutes 12 seconds
DNF Ronald MacDonald
DNF Samel ElShazly
OTL Kevin McIntosh
OTL Christos Fessas
OTL Ulrich Haevecker

Women’s Results:
1. Irene van der Laan 6 hours 30 minutes 6 seconds
2. Karen Toole 6 hours 34 minutes 42 seconds
3. Cindy Paterson 6 hours 50 minutes 40 seconds
4. Irene Holemewska 6 hours 54 minutes 10 seconds
5. Elizabeth Jane Horner 6 hours 55 minutes 12 seconds
6. Vera Zeiten 7 hours 25 minutes 8 seconds
7. Linda Hargreaves 7 hours 44 minutes 50 seconds
8. Sara Adual Aziz 8 hours 16 minutes 35 seconds
9. Julie Bradshaw 8 hours 28 minutes 34 seconds
10. Deborah Banks 8 hours 53 minutes 57 seconds
DNF Sarah Hunt

Commander Forsberg said after the event, “And so after many months of hard work, it was all over. I would like to pay tribute to our Press Secretary, Mrs. Margaret Smith, she did a wonderful job in getting television, press and radio coverage. To see television there and on the water, and to bear our swimmers being interviewed on the Road Show on the Friday and then seeing the amount of coverage. The swim got in the National Press is to Margaret’s credit and can only do credit to the BLDSA.

The British Long Distance Swimming Association and the International Windermere Committee owe a great debt of thanks to Val and Roger Parsons for their generosity.

Media from the 1982 Windermere International Championships

1966 Windermere International Championships – 17 km Course Winners:
Bob Walter (Holland) 5 hours 11 minutes 9 seconds
Elaine Gray (England) 5 hours 18 minutes 40 seconds

1970 Windermere International Championships – 25 km Course Winners:
Mike Read (England) 7 hours 35 minutes 0 seconds
A.S. van der Vieken (Holland) 7 hours 56 minutes 0 seconds

1974 Windermere International Championships – 25 km Course Winners:
Piet Stegink (Holland) 6 hours 25 minutes 0 seconds
Lotty Ten Veen (Holland) 6 hours 45 minutes 0 seconds

1978 Windermere International Championships – 25 km Course Winners:
Rudy Willens (Belgium) 6 hours 45 minutes 31 seconds
Mary Beth Colpo (USA) 6 hours 10 minutes 33 seconds

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