Sandra Bucha, The Heroine Of 24 Heures La Tuque

QUEBEC, Canada. April 24. JOHN Kinsella, arguably the most dominant swimmer on the professional marathon swimming circuit in any era, knew who he could count on during his professional marathon swimming career. Coach Don Watson helped prepare him for an unprecedented career while his Hinsdale teammate, Sandra Bucha, helped him when the going got really tough…and cold became an issue.

At the 1974 24 Heures La Tuque race in Quebec, Canada, Kinsella who was called The Machine by his colleagues and rivals, was getting cold during the night over the 24-hour two-person relay race. His choice of a teammate could not be better.

The much lighter and smaller Bucha, the only woman among the top four teams, swam 100 laps to Kinsella's 94 as they set the world record of 194 laps or almost 65 miles total during the 24-hour endurance race in Lac Louis. Bucha told Sports Illustrated Magazine that her ability to keep going had physiological reasons. “It's my layer of fat,” although the reporter insisted that fat was nowhere to be seen on the former pool sprinter.

As the top male professional marathon swimmers were fading as the night went on, Bucha not only kept pace, but rather kept on getting stronger and stronger. Her father and trainer Colonel Paul Bucha told Sports Illustrated, “She feels better now [at 2 a.m.] than she did six hours ago.” By 5 a.m., 14 hours after the start, Bucha felt good and explained why, “You look at the sky and get energy.”

As his mood and skin were simultaneously turning blue, Kinsella was also hurting with a pulled tendon into the 16th hour of the race. Advised to slow down and that his team would still win, Kinsella replied, “It still hurts. Sandra really came through when I needed her and I did not want to let her down. Not that I was thinking of dropping out, though. I was in too much pain to think about it.”

Courtesy of Open Water Source