The photo at left shows John at the successful conclusion of his 35:15 Lake Ontario epic swim. The photo is copyright of the Kingston Whig Standard - credit Ian MacAlpine.
From a very young age John Munro was involved in numerous sports. He played basketball at the elementary and high school level, participated in track and field and gymnastics throughout his schooling, and played baseball, lacrosse, and football. He also swam recreationally at the YMCA in Toronto where he grew up. John was awarded the honour of athlete of the year in his grade 10 class at Runnymede Collegiate in Toronto for the 1966-1967 school year.
John continued to be active throughout his adult life in a variety of sports and fitness activities.
In the spring of 1994, at the age of 43, John was readying himself for the Ottawa marathon, his first competitive long distance run. Weeks before he was to run, he suffered a debilitating knee injury. In order to rehabilitate, he took up marathon swim training with his wife, multi long distance record holder, Vicki Keith. John became a swim pacer and training partner for Vicki. He later became a training partner and swim pacer for Carlos Costa, a double leg amputee who went on to set several world records.
John was anxious to test himself in a swim marathon, as his running was placed on the back burner. In July of 1996, at the age of 45, John Munro attempted the 52-km crossing of Lake Ontario from Niagara on the Lake to Toronto. He was within two miles of completion, when he had to abandon the swim due to a severe rotator cuff injury. After a two year healing process, John was back to swimming as a fitness activity. Vicki and John worked together and focused on re-designing John's stroke.
In August of 2001, John was ready for another marathon attempt. He and Vicki completed the first tandem swim across Lake Ontario from Point Peninsula, New York to Kingston, Ontario; a distance of 35 km. John had caught the "swimming bug" once again.
During July and August of 2003, at the age of 52, John Munro completed two swims that he aptly named the Y Knot Marathon. The first swim was the July 13th 20-km crossing of Lake Erie from Crystal Beach, Ontario to Sturgeon Point, New York in a time of 9 hours and 33 minutes. One month later, on August 12th, John set out from Sackets Harbor, New York and swam the 58.4-km crossing to Confederation Basin in Kingston, Ontario in a time of 35 hours and 15 minutes. In the process, John completed the longest single crossing of Lake Ontario, became the first person to complete a solo swim at the east end of Lake Ontario, and became the oldest amateur to successfully cross the lake.
Like all of Vicki's marathon swims, John's Y Knot Marathon was a charitable fund raising event. The main purpose of the swims was to raise funds to help John and Vicki continue to develop sport and recreational opportunities for young people with physical disabilities at the Kingston Family YMCA. Thanks to the tremendous generosity of people in the Greater Kingston area and across Ontario, to date, John's Y Knot Marathon has raised an amazing $72,000, with funds still being donated.
A wonderful 20-minute YouTube video was released in 2014 and forms a tribute to John's swim, along with inspirational interviews with the children involved in, and motivated by, John and Vicki Keith's Y Knot programme.
Data provided by Vicki Keith.
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Created: 3rd November 2003
Last Updated: 30th June 2014