Wednesday, August 10, 2016

August 10, 1918 -- Tenth Annual Chicago River Swim

August 10, 1918 --  It is difficult to believe today, but for years – over a decade – a swimming race was held that had athletes navigating a course in the lake before heading west up the river to Wells Street.  On this day in 1918 Perry McGillivray of the Great Lakes training station wins the tenth annual river swim of the Illinois Athletic Club, establishing a new record for the two-mile course of 33:44.  Miss Rebecca Wells of the Walton Athletic Club is allowed to participate, but she is not eligible for any of prizes because women arere officially barred from the event.  In the 1912 Olympics McGillivray was a member of the American 4 X 200 meter freestyle relay team that won a silver medal.  In 1920 he earned a gold medal as a member of the United States 4 X 200 meter relay team, also participating in the country’s water polo team that earned a fourth-place finish.  The old Chicago Daily News photo above shows the crowds lining the river as the 1909 race approaches Wells Street.

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