Australian Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honors James Pittar

Courtesy of Australian Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame.

Chris Guesdon and Gary Toner announced James Pittar as a member of the inaugural Class of 2020 in the Australian Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame.

They explained, “James’ achievements are remarkable for a marathon swimmer, but James is also blind. When 10-year-old James Pittar started having trouble seeing at night, he could never have predicted that within a decade, his vision would be all but gone. For a kid that dreamed of representing his country, it was a hard blow. And for most people, it would have spelled the end of that dream. But not for James.

Just a few months shy of his 30th birthday, James did what no blind person has ever done before – he swam the English Channel. It signaled a shift in his mindset – from that point onwards, he would never think of himself as the underdog. He would learn that disability is only a barrier if you let it be.”

1990: Represented Australia in the World Championships and Games for the disabled, swimming pool competition in Assen, Netherlands
1991: Represented Australia in the Thailand National disabled championships swimming pool competition in Lump Pung province, Thailand
1994: Represented Australia in the British Blind National swimming pool championships in Essex, England
1998: First blind person to swim from Perth to Rottnest Island, Western Australia
1998: First blind person to swim the English Channel taking 13 hour 50 minutes from England to France
1999: Swam from Perth to Rottnest Island. First blind person to swim the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim in New York, USA
1999: Completed 23 laps of the Manly to Queenscliff beach which is still a record today
2000: Swam from Perth to Rottnest Island. One of the first 2 people to swim from Martha’s Vineyard to Nantucket Island, USA
2000: Swam from Manly Wharf to Darling Harbour to raise awareness and money for the Paralympics
2001: Swam from Perth to Rottnest Island. Swam from Palm Beach to Manly Beach to raise awareness and money for the Rainbow Club which provides swimming tuition for disabled children up to 18 years of age
2002: Swam from Perth to Rottnest Island
2002: Became the first Australian to swim the Strait of Gibraltar from Spain to Morocco
2003: Swam from Perth to Rottnest Island
2003: Swam from Bordighera, Italy to Monte Carlo, Monaco for the World Sport for Good Foundation
2003: First blind person to compete in the Great Chesapeake Bay Swim in Baltimore, USA
2003: First blind person to swim a double crossing of the Alcatraz Island in California, USA
2004: First blind person to swim the Cook Strait in New Zealand
2004: Swam 60 km down the Paraná River in Argentina
2005: Swam 26 km down the Vaal River in Johannesburg, South Africa
2005: Swam 12 km of open water into Anzac Cove in Turkey
2006: Swam a 22 km from Mao Khao Beach to Patong Beach in Phuket, Thailand
2006: Second blind person and second Australian to swim across the Catalina Channel from Catalina Island to Los Angeles
2006: Became the first Australian to complete the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming by completing the English Channel, Manhattan Island Marathon Swim, and the Catalina Channel
2006: Completed an open water swim on every continent excluding Antarctica in 925 days
2007: Swam from Capitola Pier to Santa Cruz in California, USA
2007: Competed in the Pennock Island Challenge in Alaska, USA
2007: Completed a swim around Inishbofin Island in Ireland
2008: Swam from Sydney Harbour Bridge to North Steyne Beach in Australia
2010: Inducted into the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA
2011: Swam from Malabar Beach to Bondi Beach, Australia
2012: Swam from Collaroy Beach to North Steyne
2012: Nominated for the World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year (WOWSA Award) for a charity swim from Collaroy Beach to North Steyne Beach
2013: Member of the first stage relay team of 66 people from 16 countries and 6 continents to swim across the Bering Strait from Providenia in Russia to Alaska, USA
2013: Nominated again for the World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year (WOWSA Award) as part of the Bering Strait Swim
2013: Swam from Long Reef beach to North Steyne Beach
2014: First blind person to swim from Robben Island to Blouberg as part of the Freedom Swim in Cape Town, South Africa
2015: 1 of only 2 Australians to be named in the World Open Water Swimming Association’s World’s 50 Most Adventurous Open Water Men

His marathon swimming record is posted here.”

The inaugural class of Australian Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame honourees inducted on August 2020 include:

Australian Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honourees – Class of 2020:
* Jennifer Anderson
* Lauren Arndt
* David Bates
* Clive Berry Rickards
* Kate Brookes-Peterson
* Roger Bruce
* Tamara Bruce
* Richard Campion
* Brendan Capell
* Graeme Carroll
* Cavill Family
* Melissa Cunningham
* William Ford
* Melissa Gorman
* Trent Grimsey
* Christopher Guesdon
* Susanne Guesdon
* Kevin Holtom
* Annette Kellerman
* Tracy Knowles
* John Koorey
* Susie Maroney OAM
* Chloë McCardel
* Linda McGill MBE
* Joseph Mitchell
* Lynton Mortensen
* David O’Brien OAM
* Penny Palfrey
* James Pittar
* Des Renford MBE
* Grant Robinson
* Rottnest Channel Swim Association
* Mark Saliba
* Josh Santacaterina
* Shelley Taylor-Smith
* Gary Toner
* Suzanne Toner

For more information, visit the Australian Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Facebook here with Instagram @amshofame.

He was interviewed for a May 12th 2020 edition of WOWSA Live [shown above].

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