Ralph Hutton – Must be something in the water in Ocean Falls

One can’t help but wonder if there is something in the water in Ocean Falls! Ralph Hutton was Canada’s male swimming superstar in the 1960’s. In 1963 he was a boy among men; at 15-year-old he delivered a double medal performance at the Pan AM Games.  In 1966, at the Commonwealth Games in Jamaica, at…

Ocean Falls Amateur Swim Club’s Jack Kelso

Born in 1939 in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Jack Kelso came to Ocean Falls, Canada, with his family when he was 12 years old. One year after arriving, Jack  learned to swim through the Ocean Falls Amateur Swim Club and was winning meets on the North West coast. The coach at the time was George Gate….

Ocean Falls Amateur Swim Club’s Sandy Gilchrist

I’ve been Facebooking and emailing a few of the swimmers from Ocean Falls to find out more about them and what it was like to swim for the club “back in the day.” Sandy Gilchrist was kindly replied. Here’s what he said: “I was born in Ocean Falls as were my eight brothers and sisters and…

Lessons from Lama Passage: part 2 – 10km of terror

Sometimes I am not the smartest fish in the school. My recent 10km test swim is a testament to that. At this point in my life I should know better than to introduce something new before a significant swim, or in this case a swim in a new waterway. To make a long story short…

Lessons from Lama Passage: part 1 – response to cold water

Some say that open water swimming teaches you more about yourself than anything else. After completing a 10km test swim in Lama Passage for the Great Bear Swim I have to agree. It truly was a swim, and experience, like no other. My adventure started on a Friday with a three flight hop from Victoria…

 Me, Muhammad Ali and the Great Bear Swim

He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life. – Muhammad Ali I think the three of the most common questions I am asked as a marathon swimmer are: 1.       How do you prepare for a swim? 2.       What do you think about while you are swimming? and; 3.       What do…

Great Bear Treats!

I received a package in the mail today from a man named Sandy Gilchrist. He had heard about the Great Bear Swim and our desire to revive the stories of the Ocean Falls swimmers. He offered to help. Inside the package was a book – The History of Ocean Falls Amateur Swim Club (1926 t0 1974)…

What’s Up with Ocean Falls and Canadian Swimming?

In the 1950s and 1960s the Ocean Falls Amateur Swimming Club produced outstanding swimmers far out of proportion to the size of that small, isolated coastal community. The town of approximately 3000 residents won a remarkable 26 national swimming events. Located at the head of Cousins Inlet in the Great Bear Rainforest, Ocean Falls was…

Why swim the Great Bear Sea?

There’s a lot of places one can choose to swim around the world. Within the marathon swim community some of the more popular swims are the English Channel, North Channel, the Cook Strait, the Molokai Channel, the Catalina Channel, the Tsugaru Strait and the Strait of Gibraltar.  These swims are officially the Ocean’s Seven and is considered…