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WOMAN HERO:
MARILYN BELL
by Amatul from Bradford

Marilyn Bell Book (The Cookie Jar Company)

Can ever dream that you're swimming across Lake Ontario or the English Channel! Well my hero Marilyn Bell swam all across Lake Ontario and the English Channel! Marilyn Bell had a boat beside her so she could eat food. You may wonder if she slept... Well, she didn't. Marilyn Bell was awake all night and all day!! There were lamprey eels attacking her while she was swimming.

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On September 8, 1954, Bell started her swim across Lake Ontario from Youngstown, New York to Toronto at virtually the same time as world famous United States long-distance swimmer, Florence Chadwick. The Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) in Toronto had offered Chadwick $10,000 to swim the lake as a publicity effort for the annual exhibition. Bell, who felt the offer should include all Canadian swimmers, took on the challenge without pay. After several hours, Chadwick was forced to give up with stomach pains and vomiting, while 16-year-old Bell completed the swim, the first person ever to swim the thirty-two-mile (52 km) distance when she arrived in Toronto the next day. A third swimmer, Torontonian Winnie Roach, also attempted the swim at this time, but failed.

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Bell swam for 20 hours and 59 minutes under gruelling conditions before she finally reached a breakwater near the Boulevard Club, west of the CNE. The planned route straight across the lake was 51.5 km (32 mi), but she actually had to swim much further because of strong winds and the lack of modern navigation equipment. Waves that day were almost 5 m high, (up to 15 ft), water temperature was 21 degrees C (65 degrees F) and lamprey eels were attacking her legs and arms.

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In 1954, Bell was named the Canadian Newsmaker of the Year by the Canadian Press. Bell was also inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame in 1958. In 1993 she entered the Canadian Swimming Hall of Fame and was named one of Canada's top athletes of the century. In 2002, Bell (now MaBell kept up her strength with Pablum, corn syrup, and lemon juice with water, along with heroic encouragement from her boat crew and her coach, Gus Ryder. Radio stations broadcast hourly reports of her progress and rival newspapers published "extra" editions throughout the day. When she finally arrived at about 8:15 p.m., a crowd of 300,000 people gave her an emotional welcome at the Sunnyside waterfront. The CNE decided to give Bell the $10,000 prize, and she was later given numerous gifts, including a car, television, clothing and furniture.

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In 1955, Marilyn became the youngest person to swim the English Channel and, in 1956, she swam the Strait of Juan de Fuca off the Pacific coast. She retired that year from swimming. Marilyn married Joe Di Lascio and moved to New Jersey, United States. They raised four children, Lisa, Michael, Jodi, and Janet. Joe died in September 2007

I hope you like my awesome story about Marilyn Bell!!



Written by Amatul from Bradford
This story has been submitted by a guest user and does not necessarily represent the views of The My Hero Project or its staff.

Last changed on: 11/28/2011 1:19:41 PM

The MY HERO Gallery For the Gallery Page dedicated to Marilyn Bell, also by Amatul from Bradford.

 

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