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John Kinsella

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John Kinsella with Don Watson on the right
John Kinsella on the left, James Counsilman "Doc" center and Don Watson on the right
John Kinsella on the right with Don Watson seated
Olympian John Kinsella in lac St-Jean
Olympian John Kinsella
Sports Illustrated article on the Pepsi Challenge Marathon Swim in August 1978
Sports Illustrated article on the Pepsi Challenge Marathon Swim in August 1978

John Kinsella of Hinsdale, Illinois, a renowned Olympic pool swimmer and professional marathon swimmer.

Kinsella is inducted in both the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame in 1978 as an Honour Swimmer and in the International Swimming Hall of Fame also as an Honor Swimmer in 1986. Kinsella is known by his nickname the American Torpedo among his professional marathon swimming competitors and The Machine among the American swimming community for his voracious appetite for grueling training sessions.

Swimming Highlights

1977 World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation Rankings

Men

1. John Kinsella (USA) 1,375 points
2. Bill Heiss (USA) 1,033 points
3. Claudio Plit (Argentina) 932 points
4. Jon Erikson (USA) 604 points
5. Magdy Mandour (Egypt) 563 points
6. Raul Villagomez (Mexico) 556 points
7. Amin Yousseff (Egypt) 550 points
8. Marwan Saleh (Syria) 477 points
9. Ray Dixon (England) 433 points
10. Dennis Matuch (USA) 426 points
11. James Barry (USA) 391 points
12. Nasser El Shazly (Egypt) 331 points
13. Magdy Farid (Egypt) 225 points
14. Ibrahim Feidalla (Egypt) 205 points
15. Baher Hamid (Egypt) 192 points
16. Martin Neiman (USA) 184 points
17. Guy Montpetit (Canada) 158 points
18. Ossama Rachad (Egypt) 150 points
19. Wayne Westman (USA) 133 points
20. Sultan Kigab (Sudan) 131 points
21. Mohamad Gamie (Egypt) 120 points

Women

1. Loreen Passfield (Canada) 1,375 points
2. Cynthia Nicholas (Canada) 1,054 points
3. Kim Lumsdon (Canada) 545 points
4. Corrie Dixon (Holland) 483 points
5. Nazala Moustafa (Egypt) 404 points
6. Omneya Tantawi (Egypt) 379 points
7. Sharon Beckman (USA) 245 points
8. Martha Stortz (USA) 210 points

25e Traversée internationale du lac St-Jean

On 29 July 1979, he won the 32 km Traversée internationale du lac St-Jean professional marathon swim in 21°C water in Quebec, Canada:

1. John Kinsella (USA) 7 hours 1 minutes 15 seconds
2. Claudio Plit (Argentina) 7 hours 16 minutes 21 seconds
3. Bill Heiss (USA) 7 hours 26 minutes 15 seconds
4. Juan Carlos Mosqueda (Mexico) 7 hours 28 minutes 55 seconds
5. Penny Lee Dean (USA) 7 hours 34 minutes 41 seconds
6. Nasser El Shazly (Egypt) 7 hours 46 minutes 49 seconds
7. Jorge Villegas (Mexico) 7 hours 55 minutes 5 seconds
8. Alwi Makki (Saudi Arabia) 8 hours 2 minutes 49 seconds
9. Marawan Saleh (Syria) 8 hours 9 minutes 53 seconds
10. Raul Villagomez (Mexico) 8 hours 10 minutes 12 seconds
11. Magdy Mandour (Egypt) 8 hours 14 minutes 24 seconds and Maher Saleh (Syria) 8 hours 14 minutes 24 seconds
13. Alberto Santiago (Argentina) 8 hours 24 minutes 41 seconds
14. Christine Cossette (Canada) 8 hours 42 minutes 15 seconds
15. Ossama Rachad (Egypt) 8 hours 53 minutes 29 seconds
16. Loreen Passfield (Canada) 8 hours 56 minutes 59 seconds
17. Mona Aly Hossen (Egypt) 8 hours 59 minutes 38 seconds
18. Joke Van Staveren (Netherlands) 9 hours 0 minutes 12 seconds
OTL Ibrahim Moustafa Feidalla (Egypt, 10h4m15s), Anwar Saleh (Saudi Arabia, 10h13m56s), Rémi Meunier (Canada 11h29m45s) DNF Carlos Aguirre Argentina, 8h01m), Luis Prado Medel (Mexico, 5h40m), James Barry (USA, 4h30m)

1st Traversée Internationale du lac Memphrémagog

On 12 August 1979, he won the Traversée Internationale du lac Memphrémagog in Quebec, Canada.

1. John Kinsella (USA)
2. Claudio Plit (Argentina) 10 hours 44 minutes
3. Jorge Villegas (Mexico)
4. Juan Carlos Tellez Mosqueda (Mexico)
5. Penny Lee Dean (USA) 11 hours 4 minutes - first woman
6. Nasser El-Shazly (Egypt)
7. Ossama Rashad (Egypt)
8. Joke Van Staveren (Netherlands)
DNF Mohamed Gamig (Canada)
DNF Sultan Kigab (Sudan)
DNF Jose Luis Prado Medel (Mexico)
DNF Loreen Passfield (Canada)
DNF Maher Saley (Syria)
DNF Marwan Saley (Syria)

International Swimming Hall of Fame

Kinsella's International Swimming Hall of Fame induction description is as follows:

FOR THE RECORD: OLYMPIC GAMES: 1968 silver (1500m freestyle); 1972 gold (relay); WORLD RECORDS: 4 (400m, 1500m freestyle; 2 relays); AAU NATIONALS 11 (200yd, 400yd, 500yd 1650ye, 400m 1500m, 4 mile freestyle); NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS: 6 (500yd, 1650yd freestyle; 2 relays); AMERICAN RECORDS: 9 (500yd, 1650yd, 400m, 1500m, 1 mile freestyle; 1 relay); 1970 Sullivan Award; World Professional Marathon Champion: 1975, 1976, 1978, 1979.

John Kinsella was a big, big swimmer at 6 ft. 3 in. and 200 lbs. He won the Sullivan Award as the USA's #1 amateur athlete of the year in 1970, halfway between his two Olympics. He was the dominant high school middle distance swimmer, swimming for Don Watson in Hinsdale, Illinois, and the dominant college middle distance swimmer for Doc Counsilman's Indiana University. He also dominated and set records lasting 12 years in the U.S. National AAU. Afterwards, in his professional career, Kinsella was unbeatable, being declared the World's Professional Champion on a point system including all sanctioned races from 1975 through 1979. During this time he won races across Lake Ontario, the English Channel, and all around the world circuit, usually in world record time. He retired in 1979 with no more swimming worlds to conquer having used his professional earnings to put himself through Harvard Business School. As a milestone achievement, Kinsella was the first swimmer in history to break 16 minutes for the 1500 Meter swim in 1970.

Hinsdale Swimming Program

1975 24 Heures La Tuque Results

1. Sandra Bucha + John Kinsella: 191 tours
2. Magdy Mandour + Marawan Ghazzawi: 181 tours
3. Maher Saleh + Marwan Saleh: 180 tours
4. Ossama Rashad + Amed Youssef: 177 tours
5. Jennifer Anderson + Richard Campion: 169 tours
6. James Stewart + Baher Hamid: 162 tours
7. Sahar Mansour + Diana Nyad: 161 tours
8. Jacques Fordham + Daniel Piché: 135 tours
9. Yvon Montpetit + Georges Blazy: 133 tours
10. Gilles Potvin + Raymond Cusson: 109 tours
Amateurs: Johanne Thomson + Jocelyn Dufort + Michael Dumond + Jean Boudreault: 180 tours

External links