Monday, May 2, 2011

Another name in GSL marathon swimming history - Edward Watson

Here is an article taken from either the Deseret News, or the Salt Lake Tribune, on 7 July 1940:

1939 Champ Files Entry in Lake Swim Classic


Edward C. Watson, Salt Lake City swimmer, who paddled for five hours 25 minutes and 26 seconds to reach Black Rock beach from Antelope island in 1939 to cop the intermountain A.A.U. long distance swim championship, will defend his title this year.  He entered the contest Saturday, according to Dr. Munn. Q Cannon, A.A.U. swim chairman, as a representative of Black Rock beach.

Not only will Watson seek a second intermountain championship, but this year will seek the national A.A.U. individual long distance swim championship for men, since the annual Antelope island-Black Rock swim to be held this year on Sunday, July 21, as a feature of the Covered Wagon Days celebration has been awarded the national championship.

In Accident


Missing among the contestants will be the "grand old man" of the yearly swim, Orson Spencer, lately of Ogden, who is recovering from injuries received in an automobile accident.  Spencer dropped the title for the first time in years in 1939 when he became lost in the mountainous waves of the lake in weather declared to be the worst ever experienced in the classic swim.

Watson, the lone swimmer to finish the 8.12 miles, had hoped to engage Spencer in a duel in the 1940 classic, but will be deprived of the chance.

"I really wanted a chance to race Spencer this year."  Watson said.  "I have heard from every swimmer I know that he has a great stroke, one of the best in the intermountain west.   Winning the 1939 race proved nothing except that I was able to go the route.  I could have just as well gotten off the course as Spencer and the rest of the boys--and never have finished.  Maybe I was just plain lucky.  I've been looking forward to meeting Spence, and I'm sure we both would have enjoyed tangling."

After Record


"If Spencer isn't in, the next best thing to do is to try and lower his record of three hours, 40 minutes and 52 seconds, and I believe I've got a chance to do it.  At least I'm going to try, if we get good weather, and that is likely, with the date advanced to July 21.  I can concentrate on that with Spencer out of the race.  With him in, I'd be too busy watching him to swim for time.  There may be some others who will make the going tough--but in training at least I'm aiming at time more than anything else."

Nearly 200 invitations have been mailed for the national junior championships to all sections of the country and the swim may attract a national field.
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