In 1974, at age 16, Cindy Nicholas became the fastest swimmer of either sex to have crossed Lake Ontario, with a time of 15 hours 10 minutes - and this time still stands as the ladies' record over 37 years later. The events of her crossing are well-reported in the bio of her induction into the ISHOF.
This achievement was just the start of a tremendous marathon swimming career which involved 19 crossings of the English Channel - earning her the title of Queen of the Channel, until the record was broken by Alison Streeter, who now has over 30 crossings to her name!
Cindy's numerous Channel crossings and associated records are proudly listed in our page of Canadians who have crossed the Channel. She was the first woman to complete a two-way crossing of The Channel and at the completion of her 19 crossings, ten of them had involved two-way swims, including a two-way World Record of 18:51 in 1982 and an E-F World Record of 8:21 on the first leg of her in 1981 two-way swim.
She also competed in the Lac Saint-Jean 32 km (20 mile) races in 1976, 1977, 1978 and had a tremendous competition with her Canadian rival, Loreen Passfield, who she beat in only the 1976 race.
Numerous awards and recognitions have been showered upon Cindy. In 1978, she was inducted into the International Marathon Swimming Hall Of Fame and subsequently in 2005 into the International Swimming Hall of Fame where her achievements are well-listed in the associated biography. She received the Cliff Lumsdon Award of SSO in 1999. for her 1993 induction into Swim Ontario's Hall of Fame, and these awards include her appointment to the Order of Canada in 1979.
Born on 20th August 1957, Cindy died on 19th May 2016 at age 58
CTV News obituary report.
Cindy worked as a lawyer in Toronto and was often called upon to provide advice to aspiring swimmers of Lake Ontario. Her modesty and achievements make us proud to identify her as:
A Canadian Marathon Swimming Legend.
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Created: 1st October 2000
Last Updated: 27th March 2022