Saturday, June 14, 2008

Lasting Images from Beijing - Part 17

The gold medalist in the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim in Beijing will be rightly heralded as the world's greatest open water swimmer.

Over time, both the male and female Olympic champions will be nominated for induction in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame where 191 renowned individuals are currently enshrined for open water swimming posterity.

As we look back on some of the individuals who made their mark in the open water swimming world, Montserrat Tresserras of Spain, an inductee in 1970, comes immediately to mind.

Montserrat was the first Spanish woman to swim the 8-mile Strait of Gibraltar (between Spain and Morocco) and the first Spaniard to swim the English Channel (from England to France in 1958). In 1961, Montserrat swam the English Channel again in the opposite direction (France to England) to become the first women to successfully cross the English Channel in both directions.

In 1969, she swam between Minorca and Majorca, two Spanish islands in the Mediterranean Sea, in 21 hours 10 minutes and the very cold 20-mile Lough Neagh, the largest lake in Ireland, in 16 hours and 13 minutes.

To this day, Montserrat continues to serve on the Board of the Channel Swimming Association and acts as an official observer and adviser on many attempts across the English Channel. She also observes and assists swimmers who attempt crossing the Straits of Gibraltar.

We are hopeful the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim champions will give back to the sport as much as the illustrious and industrious Montserrat has over her storied career.

Copyright © 2008 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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