Australian Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame names its inaugural 37 inductees

HALL OF FAMERS: Australia's Chloe McCardel celebrates her induction in the AMSHOF with her 32nd English Channel Crossing. Also pictured (L-R) Des Renford, Shelley Taylor Smith and Linda McGill with Des Renford. Photos Supplied.

Marathon swimming legends Annette Kellermann, Des Renford, Shelley Taylor-Smith and Chloe McCardel headline the 37 inaugural inductees named today into the Australian Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame.


GRIN AND BEAR IT: Aussie marathon queen Chloe McCardel celebrates her 32nd English Channel crossing with her Koala mascot. Photo Courtesy: Chloe McArdle Facebook Page.

McCardel has celebrated her induction with her timely and extraordinary 32nd crossing of the English Channel yesterday – confirming the girl from Mona Vale in Sydney as Australia’s greatest ever English Channel swimmer who now has her sights set on the world record of 34 crossings over the next fortnight.


These incomparable Australian swimmers are amongst a who’s who list of marathon and open water swimming greats and contributors that also includes Olympian Linda McGill, Trent Grimsey, Susie Maroney, John Koorey, and visually impaired swimmer James Pittar.

Australian swimmers have braved mountainous seas, freezing cold waters and creatures of the deep, showing remarkable tenacity and inner strength, their bodies covered in wool fat, stroking their way to exhaustion in some amazing swims.

They have conquered some of the greatest and treacherous marathon and open water swims in the world, in cages and in raging seas, in darkness and in fog.

From the English Channel to the fabled Loch Ness and the River Danube to the wilds of the Amazon River and to its Olympic debut in Beijing in 2008, Australians love affair with water and adventure, have seen them emerge as champions of the seven seas.

It all started with Sydney-born and Melbourne educated Kellermann, who had won the NSW 110 yards and one mile championships in 1902, had three unsuccessful attempts to swim the English Channel in 1905.

But she went on to win races in the Thames, the Danube, Boston Harbor and the Seine River between 1905 and 1907 and became one of the pivotal figures in the history of swimming.

She was instrumental in the evolution of women’s swimwear and famous for her advocacy of the right of women to wear a one-piece bathing suit, which was a controversial topic in the early 20th century.

Her life story inspired the MGM classic Million Dollar Mermaid starring her heir apparent Esther Williams and was also inducted in the International Swimming Hall of Fame (1974).

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ALL IN THE FAMILY: Michael “Murphy” Renford aged 12, puts the finishing touches to his dad’s 1974 English Channel Crossing. Michael too would one day follow in his famous father’s footsteps and swim the Channel, becoming swimmer #884 to make a solo crossing. Des Renford was swimmer #147 in 1970. Photo Courtesy: Renford Family Archives

Maroubra lifesaver Renford became the King of the Channel for his 19 crossings and was instrumental in promoting the extraordinary love affair Australians have with the English Channel.

If Renford is the King then McCardel is the undisputed queen of the Channel for her 32 crossings so far – including a non-top triple crossing and those 33rd and 34th crossings in her sights over the next two weeks – we wish her well.



Olympian McGill became the first Australian to cross the Channel in 1965 while Manly’s John Koorey was the first Australian man to make it in 1969.

Shelley Taylor Smith thumbs up

DANGEROUS WHEN WET: Australia’s first open water world champion Shelley Taylor-Smith, who won the inaugural 25km title in her home town Swan River in 1991. Photo Courtesy: Swimming Australia.

Taylor Smith became Australia’s first world open water champion at the 1991 World Championships over 25km, braving a jellyfish infested Swan River and among other extraordinary swims won the Manhattan Island Marathon five times, breaking the world record in 1995 for swimming the 48 km distance in five hours, 45 minutes and 25 seconds.

She also played a pivotal role through her role as the Fina Open Water Convenor in adding the 10km marathon to the Olympic program in 2008.

Queensland’s Trent Grimsey, a silver medallist over 25km at the Fina World Championships in 2009 holds the world record for the fastest crossing of the English Channel of six hours 55 minutes, set in 2012.

Convenor of the AMSHOF Management and Selectors, Chris Guesdon said: “Many in the open water swimming community came to the conclusion that Australia should have its own Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame.


PIONEER POSE: Annette Kellermann – the original Australian waterwoman. Photo Courtesy: La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria (Swimming Australia 100 Years)

“Since Annette Kellerman set the scene in the English Channel over a century ago Australia has produced many superb marathon swimmers and contributors who have had history-making careers encompassing events both in Australia and abroad.

“So in recognition of them by our sport in one place is essential for history and the preservation of achievements in our sport.

“With this in mind, a founding group was formed to formalise the project.”

The AMSHOF Management and Selectors is a community-based group from the marathon swimming community from five Australian States.

They are:  the Executive Officer of Swim Australia & the Australian Swimming Coaches & Teachers Association Gary Toner (Qld); International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honourees Melissa Roberts (Cunningham, VIC; Tamara Bruce (WA), David O’Brien OAM (NSW), Chris Guesdon (TAS) (Convenor)

The inaugural list of 2020 inductees into the Australian Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame

Jennifer Anderson

Luren Arndt

David Bates

Clive (Berry) Rickards (Contributor)

Kate Brookes-Peterson

Roger Bruce (coach)

Tamara Bruce

Richard Campion (Contributor)

Brendan Capell

Graeme Carroll (Coach)

Cavill Family

Melissa Cunningham

William Ford (Contributor)

Melissa Gorman

Trent Grimsey

Christopher Guesdon

Susanne Guesdon

Kevin Holtom (Contributor)

Annette Kellermann

Tracy Knowles

John Koorey (Contributor)

Susie Maroney OAM

Chloë McCardel

Linda McGill MBE

Joseph Mitchell

Lynton Mortensen

David O’Brien OAM

Penny Palfrey

James Pittar

Des Renford MBE

Grant Robinson

Rottnest Channel Swim Association (Contributor)

Mark Saliba

Josh Santacaterina

Shelley Taylor-Smith

Gary Toner (Contributor)

Suzanne Toner (Contributor)



After this inaugural intake made by the AMSHOF Selectors, they encourage anyone in our open water swimming community to nominate noteworthy marathon swimmers and contributors who you believe worthy of selection.The ongoing intakes will not be constricted to an annual intake. Individuals can be nominated at any time and are subject to selection panel approval.

For nominating please submit a short bio in which it is required for you to outline the reason why the candidate should be inducted into the AMSHOF.

Access to Honouree achievements for those on the Honour Roll can be found on published information readily viewed on the Marathon Swimmers Federation LongSwims Database or Openwaterpedia.

Additions to the Hall can be made at any time. The credibility and relevance will be that the names are listed on the publicised Honour Roll.

There are and have been numerous swimmers and contributors around Australia in a wide variety of marathon swims past and present who would be worthy.