Solo Swims of Ontario Inc.

Hall of Fame

TED ROACH
A Cliff Lumsdon Awardee (1998)

A Reproduction of Ted's induction nomination for the Cliff Lumsdon Award, 1998.

Marathon swimming was the seed from which Ted's swimming career blossomed. His father, Pat, coached both the first male (John Jaremey, 36) and the oldest male (Bill Sadlo, 57) to cross Lake Ontario. In 1951, his cousin, Winnie Roach, was the first Canadian to cross the English Channel. But it was his daughter, Debbie, in 1975, who challenged Ted to embark on an active, healthy lifestyle. Debbie conquered lake Ontario and Ted quit smoking.

Ted has maintained the spirit of open water swimming as a Director of Solo Swims of Ontario for almost a decade and has acted as a Swim Master on more than half a dozen swims. Ted's role is less active these days, but he still provides technical expertise as a member of the Advisory Board.

In 1995, Ted used his own indomitable spirit to tackle Lake Ontario as the oldest person ever to do so. He completed a total of 12 miles, at the age of 70, before withdrawing. Two decades earlier, Ted had harnessed the family spirit and, in a fund raising effort for the Lung association, completed a family relay across the Lake. And in one more memorable event, the family competed in the Bi-Centennial Hawaiian island-to-island relay - in shark infested waters.

The early years of Masters Swimming in Ontario were characterized by the desire of the parents of the young swimmers to be active. The competitions among these parents were small and friendly. Ted first competed at a meet at the School for the Blind in Milton in 1974. As he recalls, he was disqualified in every event, indicating his newness to the sport, but disguising the accomplishments yet to come.

Recognizing the competitive spirit of these adult swimmers, Ted took to meet management. He organized the first Ontario Championship in 1976 at Alderwood. And in a prelude of greater things to come, Ted co-chaired, with Baron Drobig, the first World Aquatic Championship for adult swimmers, held in Etobicoke in 1978. This was the first multi-disciplined aquatic meet for Masters Swimmers. Of course, FINA now oversees the World Championship, but the seed was sown 20 years ago. And the multi-disciplined aspect of Masters Athletics became the basis for the Masters Games, originally held in Toronto in 1985. Ted's inspiration was becoming the basis for an undertaking that has grown exponentially since that time.

Ted's volunteer spirit is evident in his involvement with the bodies that have governed our sport. Ted served as a Director of the Masters Committee of CASA - Ontario Section for 6 years. He then became the Chairman of the National Masters Committee of CASA. During his tenure the first Canadian Masters Swimming Championships were held, in Winnipeg in 1981.

Ted and his wife, Thelma, have been married for 52 years and appropriately enough they met at the pool at Parkdale Collegiate in 1942. Sticking close to the water, Ted served in the Navy during World War II. And, continuing the aquatic theme, competed on the Navy 8 oar shell at the Canadian Henley Regatta.

A few other accomplishments of note are:

And we must not forget Ted's fun-loving spirit: losing his teeth while swimming and being a french-fry thief and his silly hats and shirts.

We honour you Ted, the lovable "Teddy" in the Alderwood Teddy Bares, for your love of swimming, for your dedication to our sport and for your spirit.

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Created: 6th June 2000
Last Updated: 23rd March 2003