Solo Swims of Ontario Inc.

Hall of Fame

Commander C.G. (GERRY) FORSBERG, OBE, RN
A Pioneering Leader from Canada




Photographs:

Top Left: The often reproduced 1957 photograph taken the day after Gerry's record-breaking Channel swim and sporting his Otter swim suit.

  • Top Centre: 1959, Loch Lomond with George Owen (Back) and Jack Brown (Front).
  • Bottom Centre: 1959, a perfect day on Lough Neagh.
  • Top Right: The Commander with his binoculars at the 1977 BLDSA Veterans championship on Lake Coniston. Reflective of his 1982 self-description as "A short, aldermanic figure who hasn't touched his toes for 15 years."
  • Left: 1965 start of the BLDSA Torbay championship. Gerry's wife, Joyce, applying olive oil to his back.


Left: At 87 years of age, Gerry still attended many championships. Seen here at the 1999 BLDSA Windermere championship with breaststroke champion, Bryan Finlay, and his boatman for many of his later swims, Godfrey Beaton. Godfrey also completed Lake Windermere in 1958, 1959, 1962 and 1963.

Born Charles Gerald Forsberg in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada on 18th June 1912, Gerry Forsberg made his mark on Marathon Swimming through his numerous swimming, writing, and leadership activities in the United Kingdom. A long-serving term as President of the Channel Swimming Association and a World Record England-France swim in 1957 are just two of the many highlights of his career.

It took 10 years in the Merchant Navy (1928-1938), 24 years in the Royal Navy (1938-1962), and he was well into his 14 years period with the British Civil Service before he became a citizen of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. So, while Gerry never advertised his Canadian citizenship throughout his swimming career, we Canadians are certainly justified in honouring our native son for his many achievements and leadership. This biography seeks to provide a concise summary of the meritorious naval and swimming careers of this icon of open-water swimming.

When elected to the Presidency of the British Long Distance Swimming Association (BLDSA) in 1982, Gerry jovially described himself as "A short, aldermanic figure who hasn't touched his toes for 15 years. Favourite posture is withe pipe in one hand, a pint in the other, pontificating on swimming." The photograph above (Top right) catches him in 1977 in a characteristic modest pose as a spectator at a championship on Lake Coniston.

With so many awards and achievements, a point format is the easiest to absorb - but hardly does justice to each individual item. The following four items attempt to summarize the career of this amazing individual:

Gerry Forsberg - A Pioneering Leader who was born in Canada and went on to be honoured by Britain and the USA as one of the most outstanding swimmers and promoters of marathon and long-distance swimming in the 20th century.

Front Page | Canadians in the Channel | England-France Listing | A Tribute, 1912-2000
Forsberg Swims | Forsberg Swimming Publications | Forsberg in the Navy | Forsberg Naval Publications

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Created: 24th October 2000
Last Updated: 19th March 2003