Bryan Finlay, PhD, Honor Administrator, Canada, 2020
Bryan Finlay started as a teenaged administrator in the late 1950s as the Secretary of the
Coventry Water Polo Club, UK. In 1961, he helped start the Warwickshire Long Distance Swimming
Association (WLDSA) and the next year was elected to the IMSHOF Honor Organization - British Long
Distance Swimming Association (BLDSA) committee and served on their Board until 1968. He was an
active supporter of their newly formed Pilot Life Saver (PLS) scheme.
In 1964, Bryan guided 15-yearold Kevin Murphy (IMSHOF Honor Swimmer) on his Windermere entrance to the sport. 1965, after several years on the Board of the BLDSA, he was elected as Custos Rotulorum to compile a list of as many of the British historical open-water accomplishments as possible, as well as those in other countries. This assignment was at a time prior to digital databases – so these were punched tapes (holes in a tape to be read by a computer reader). Later, he used a university-based Algol computer system to create lists that were typed on paper. At the same time, Bryan introduced a series of woven “flashes” for use on tracksuits etc. and they were extended to cover all of the recognized BLDSA courses.
From his latter teens, Bryan always had an interest in the measurement and interpretation of data on
core-body temperatures. In the 1990s he made ingestible temperature-telemetry pills (biomedical
telemetry) and worked with marathon swimmers to obtain realistic readings during marathon
swims. He published two papers (1995 -1996) describing the instrumentation and results of recordings
on swims up to 12 hours, with a special note on the “initial”, one-to-two-hour, responses of trained
swimmers after their entry into a swim. He continues these studies with Solo Swims of Ontario and
works with HQ Inc on the development of their systems that are based around the use of a userfriendly, mobile-phone app.
Bryan joined the Board of Solo Swims of Ontario in 1990; he served as its Treasurer 1991-2015, and
Webmaster 1998-Present. He is a qualified Swim Master (Safety Officer and Swim Monitor) and has
acted in that role on several marathon swims up to 25 hours. Most recently acting in a ground support
role for Honor Swimmer Liz Fry’s 2018, 20 hours and 54 minutes, crossing of Lake Huron.
During his long marathon career, Bryan worked with more than 30 IMSHOF Honor Swimmers and
Contributors. In addition to those mentioned above some of the more famous are: Marilyn Bell, Lynne
Cox, Maurice Ferguson, Commander Gerald Forsberg, Harry Huffaker, Dr Vicki Keith, Sunny Lowry,
MBE, Cynthia Nicholas, Michael Read, MBE, Willy van Rysel, Greg Streppel, Montserrat Tresserras
and Christof Wandratsch.
Apart from his Administrative activities in marathon swimming, he also made his mark as a swimmer, especially in breaststroke events. Several of his records still stand today: 1966 Fleetwood-Morecambe 19.3 km, 1983 Coniston 2-Way 16.9 km, 1999 Lake Simcoe 35 km and 2001 Lake Erie 22.1 km. Expanded Biography (Openwaterpedia) Long Swims Database (Marathon Swimmers Federation)
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