Solo Swims of Ontario Inc.

Hall of Fame

William (Bill) J. Sadlo, Jr.
1900-1959

- An Inspiration to All Ageing Swimmers -

On 23rd August 1957, William (Bill) Sadlo became the first American, and, at age 57 years and 116 days, the oldest person to cross Lake Ontario. His accomplishment as the oldest conqueror of the lake still stands in 2004 - i.e. 47 years later. The longevity of his record further emphasizes the magnitude of his achievement back in 1957. He completed his swim from south to north in a time of 25 hours 10 minutes and attributed much of the success in his crossing to his Canadian swimming coach, Pat Roach.

Prior to his Lake Ontario crossing, Bill had established a long and significant history of swimming, both as a sprinter and as a marathon swimmer. Born in the state of New York, Bill appears to have spent most of his life in that state. On his letterhead and in many of the swimming programmes, his name appeared as Bill Sadlo, Jr. From those documents, his name is associated with Jackson Heights LI, Corona NY, Whitestone NY, and Coney Island NY.


On 23rd August 1957, William (Bill) Sadlo became the first American, and, at age 57 years and 116 days, the oldest person to cross Lake Ontario. His accomplishment as the oldest conqueror of the lake still stands in 2004 - i.e. 47 years later. The longevity of his record further emphasizes the magnitude of his achievement back in 1957. He completed his swim from south to north in a time of 25 hours 10 minutes and attributed much of the success in his crossing to his Canadian swimming coach, Pat Roach.

Prior to his Lake Ontario crossing, Bill had established a long and significant history of swimming, both as a sprinter and as a marathon swimmer. Born in the state of New York, Bill appears to have spent most of his life in that state. On his letterhead and in many of the swimming programmes, his name appeared as Bill Sadlo, Jr. From those documents, his name is associated with Jackson Heights LI, Corona NY, Whitestone NY, and Coney Island NY.

Bill died in August 1959 at age 59; however, in the previous year, he placed third out of 10 competitors where only seven finished in the second annual, 13.5 mile, Lake Hopatcong swim in New Jersey. Bill's time of 8 hours 11 minutes compared with Alfred Geurke (Irvington, NJ) who finished in 7 hours 5 minutes. At the time of the Lake Hopatcong swim, Bill was still working as a Swimming Instructor for the Whitestone Board of Education.


Statistics
Taken from Wind, Waves and Sunburn and Bill's letterhead:

Atlantic City, New Jersey, 22 mile (35.2 km) Professional Swim:
1954 Eleventh 10:35:40

Canadian National Exhibition Professional Swims, Toronto:
1937 - 10 Miles: Eighth, 4:57:08
1949 - 15 Miles: Third, 9:44:10
1949: Due to the 51F water temperature, only three swimmers
completed the course - Cliff Lumsdon, Ben Gazel & Bill Sadlo.

Around Manhattan Island
1927, September 25
1928, July 1
1930, July 9
1930, July 27

Battery to Coney Island, 1930
Record 3 hours 39 mins, breaking previous record of 4 hours 15 mins.

Battery to Statue of Liberty, 1930
58 Minutes 43 seconds

Liberty Pool, NY
12 miles in 5 hours 56 minutes

Bill also listed the following titles:
* American Red Cross Life Saving Champion, 1926
* 100 and 220 yard Breast Stroke Champion, 1930-1931
* Six hour Six Stroke Medley Recordholder, Van Cortlandt Pool, NY, 1928. There are no details of the six strokes used in this interesting "record".

The stimulus for this web page was provided by Bill's proud granddaughter, Jeannine Sadlo, who also provided photographs, news clippings, and Bill's letterhead.
Additional photos were provided by Ken Morrison.

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Created: 7th March 2004
Last Updated: 22nd March 2011