Open water swimming didn’t catch on until 1983 when a bay-crossing swim event was re-established. The first race was won by local swimmer Tom Walker.
VOWSA was established in 1991 by John MacMaster. In the mid-seventies, John was the Captain of the swim and water polo teams at McMaster University (no relation). He later managed Canada’s water polo team at the 1984 Olympic Games, and for several years was the Director of Water Polo Canada. John loved and excelled at open water swimming, and we have him to thank for his vision and efforts in founding VOWSA.
Swimmers continue to discover, swim, and compete in our open water swims and races, including the Bay Challenge with its moving tides, cooler temperatures and potentially rough water.
Open water swimming remains a pursuit “where most of the body remains submerged and self-absorbed.” Yet, this essentially solitary sport with good company continues to fire the imagination of this city by the sea.