Canadian Open Water Swimmer, Marilyn Bell To Be Inducted Into the International Swimming Hall of Fame

At age 16, Miss Marilyn Bell was inspired when she learned that American star swimmer, ISHOF Honoree, Florence Chadwick, was being offered a $10,000 purse to complete a swim across Lake Ontario. Bell wanted the honor to go to a Canadian swimmer. Three swimmers showed up for the attempt with waves of almost 5 meters (15 feet), water temperature of 21°C (65°F) and hungry lamprey eels lurking.  The other two dropped out, but Bell continued. The 20-hour, 59 minutes swim was covered by live radio broadcasts and special newspaper “extras”.


Marilyn Bell, in her Lake Shore jacket; Photo Courtesy: Marilyn Bell

As a result, her landing was witnessed by a crowd of 300,000 people in Toronto. Bell was awarded the purse. This young woman’s courage and achievement resulted in the Canadian Press naming her the Canadian Newsmaker of the Year in 1954.

Meet Bell in person and hear her incredible life story at the ISHOF Induction dinner on Saturday, April 25, 2020.  Become an ISHOF Legacy Member and attend the ISHOF Induction Dinner for FREE.  Can’t attend the event? Please consider donating to ISHOF, support Bell and our other inspirational Honorees.

Marilyn Bell headshot

Canadian Marilyn Bell became the youngest person to swim the English Channel.

About Marilyn Bell

Bell went on to become the youngest person to swim the English Channel. She later swam the Strait of Juan de Fuca off the Pacific coast – her woman’s speed record held for more than 60 years! Bell became a Canadian hero, and the awards and recognition include: Induction into the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame, Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame and the Ontario Swimming Hall of Fame.  She was named one of Canada’s top athletes of the century and was presented with the Order of Ontario.

George Young, Ed Sullivan, Marilyn Bell, and Cliff Lumsdon in 1954

The Canadian National Historic Sites and Monuments Board designated Bell’s crossing of the lake an Event of National Historic Significance (Canada) and a federal plaque was erected near the site of her landfall.  In addition, the land was named the Marilyn Bell Park.

Marilyn Bell teaching children to swim

Marilyn Bell teaching children to swim

About the International Swimming Hall of Fame Induction Weekend:

The International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) Induction Ceremony is shaping up to be a star-studded weekend with multiple events spread out over two days in beautiful Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Make your plans now to attend the weekend of April 24-25, 2020!  ISHOF Members can purchase the Complete Weekend Package (see below) and save! (Get info on membership here.) Can’t attend the event? Donate to ISHOF to support our honorees.

This year’s International Swimming Hall of Fame Honorees include:

HONOR SWIMMERS: Brendan Hansen (USA), Michael Klim (AUS), Jon Sieben (AUS), Rebecca Soni (USA), and Daichi Suzuki (JPN)

HONOR DIVER: Matthew Mitcham (AUS)




HONOR COACH: Ursula Carlile (AUS) and David Marsh (USA)

HONOR CONTRIBUTOR: Bob Duenkel*(USA) and Peter Hurzeler (SUI)

In addition to the Class of 2020, two Honorees from the Class of 2019, who were unable to attend last year, will be present to be inducted. Honor Swimmer: Otylia Jedrzejczak (POL) and Honor Diver: Li Ting (CHN).

Get more information about this year’s induction class here and more information about Otylia Jedrzejczak and Li Ting.


The Induction Weekend Schedule

Friday, April 24, 2020

Paragon & ISHOF Awards Night

  • 5:30 PM Cocktails
  • 6:30 PM ISHOF and Paragon Awards

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Honoree Induction Day Luncheon

  • 12-1:30 PM Luncheon

Official 56th Annual International Swimming Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

  • 6:00 PM VIP Reception
  • 7:00 –10:00 PM Induction Ceremony

Ticket Information

*See all ticket options here.


Host Hotel: Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa

Upscale retreat with private beach access, two pools, four restaurants, full service spa and oceanside bar. Location of the Saturday evening induction ceremony. ¼ mile south of the International Swimming Hall of Fame.

3030 Holiday Drive, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33316 (954) 525-4000

Special ISHOF Guest Rate of $279 per night

Book your group rate for International Swimming Hall of Fame


Courtyard by Marriott Fort Lauderdale Beach

440 Seabreeze Blvd., Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33316 (954) 524-8733

Special ISHOF Guest Rate of $229 per night

Book your hotel through the group rate for IHSOF Honoree Ceremony

Questions: contact Meg Keller-Marvin at or 570-594-4367

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x