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Bryan Finlay

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Bryan Finlay, inductee (Honor Administrator) of the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame, Class of 2020
Bryan Finlay of Solo Swims of Ontario

Bryan Finlay (born in Coventry England in 1943) is an open water swimmer who favors breaststroke and a race director in Ontario, Canada and webmaster, historian and documentarist for Solo Swims of Ontario. He is an inductee (Honor Administrator) of the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame in the Class of 2020.

Breaststroke Career

  • At age 14, Finlay entered and won the 60-yard breaststroke championship at Coventry Swimming Club's annual gala. The win led within a few weeks to representing the Midlands at the English Schools Swimming championships in Bournemouth in 1956, where he placed sixth in the final in 1:19.4 for the 100y breaststroke. He persisted with sprinting and played water polo for Coventry; however, his love of open water swimming, and a tolerance of cold water in a city that harboured a dozen marathon swimmers led him to the open water.
  • In 1960, swimming with channel swimmer Peter Fergus, he set a breaststroke record (and joint freestyle record with Fergus) of 3 hours 0 minutes on the 5.25-mile (8.4 km) course of Lake Coniston. A week later he led the field of freestylers from the 2-mile mark to the 5-mile mark in 10-mile Windermere championship. He was later pulled from the water unconscious from cold and hypoglycemia around the 7-mile mark.
  • In 1961, Bryan completed the Windermere race doing breaststroke in 6 hours 16 minutes. In 1964, Finlay broke the Windermere breaststroke record with a time of 6:10 with Kendall Mellor as his crew.
  • At the age of 56 on Windermere in 1999, he was the 7th man to finish and was the first Breaststroker with a time of 6:24:47.
  • He held the breaststroke crossing record across Coniston, 5.25 miles, for 59 years. On 21 August 1960 he set thebreaststroke record with a 3:00:00. On 3 September 1961, he improved the time to 2:33:56, and then again improved it to 2:31:54 on 27 July 1963. In a championship race on 16 July 1988, at age 45, he reset the record to 2:31:34 - a time that still stood at the end of the 2019 season.
  • He held the breaststroke crossing record across Ullswater, 7.25 miles, for 46.9 years. He set the inaugural breaststroke record with a 3:00:00. On 3 September 1961, he improved the time to 2:33:56, and then again improved it to 2:31:54 on 27 July 1963. In a championship race on 16 July 1988, at age 45, he reset the record to 2:31:34 - a time that still stood at the end of the 2019 season.
  • He has held the breaststroke crossing from Fleetwood-to-Morecambe, UK, 12 miles, for 50 years. At age 23 on 12 June 1966, Finlay was the third man to finish the 12-mile race in the sea from Fleetwood to Morecambe behind winner Barry Watson who had a time of 5:14:06. Swimming breaststroke against the freestylers, he established a breaststroke record of 5:36:03.
  • He has held the breaststroke record from Sandsend-Whitby, 4 miles, for 50 years. Finlay's set the breaststroke record of 1:04:06 in 1964 at age 21,
  • He has held the breaststroke record from Rathlin Island to Ballycastle, Northern Ireland, 4.5 miles, for 55 years. In 1964, he finished the course in 2:46:41 and placed second in the race,
  • Swimming for the UK (BLDSA) in an International Swim in Holland, in 1961, he swam freestyle and placed fifth in the men's event in 1:18:54 behind the winner's time of 1:10:01.
  • On 24-25 July 1999, he set a breaststroke record of 21:09:00 for a 22 mile (35 km) swim from Barrie to Orillia on Lake Simcoe, Canada.
  • On 23 June 2001, he set a breaststroke record for a 13.8 mile (22.1 km) swim from Leamington to Pelee Island on Lake Erie, Canada.
  • On 28 July 2017, at age 74, he was the oldest competitor to complete the BLDSA 6 km (3.85 miles) Veterans race on Lake Coniston using his trusted breaststroke.
  • At age 59, Bryan’s 2002 attempt on the English Channel was terminated by the pilot after 20 hours of breaststroke swimming when Bryan was just 800 m from reaching the French shore.
  • During a 40-year span from 1962, Bryan completed using breaststroke on seven Torbay (8 mile) races with a best time of 4:27 in 1966 when he improved over his 4:46 breaststroke record set in 1962.
  • On 9th August 1975, he set a Breast Record for a 2-way 10.5 mile (16.9 km) swim on Lake Coniston with a time of 6:37:48. He improved that time with a 6:21:21 on 6th August 1983 with a time that still stands in 2019.
  • In the BLDSA 2-way Lake Bala championship (6.25 mile) on 5th August 1963, his record breaststroke time of 3:02 placed him second overall behind Geoffrey Lake and ahead of Norman Trusty.

Video


Bryan Finlay talks about Liz Fry's swim across Lake Huron on 11 August 2018.

External links