Saturday, April 18, 2009

Gus Ryder, A Man of the Highest Order

Gus Ryder of Canada was a 1981 inductee in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame for his coaching innovation, success and influence.

Gus was a creative and motivational coach whose marathon swimmers achieved national and international success and included Marilyn Bell (see below in Lake Ontario) and Cliff Lumsdon.

He founded the Lakeshore Swimming Club in 1930 and was named Canada’s Man of the Year in 1955.

He was also named to the Order of Canada, Canada's highest civilian honor, in 1975 for his impressive lifetime of work teaching disabled children and his incredible 47 lifesaving rescues.

Certain moments of his life signified his character and magneticism. In 1917, while playing hockey in Toronto, he rescued two players who had fallen through the ice before himself being trapped under the ice. In 1930, he founded the New Toronto Swim Club and by the end of the first summer, the club had 700 members.

Over 56 years, an estimated 200,000 children were taught swimming at the Lakeshore Swim Club, but those with physical disabilities did so free and were given lifetime memberships in the club. For this dedication to children, Gus was made a member of the Order of Canada.

Photo of Gus Ryder coaching Marilyn Bell from the Solo Swims website.

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