James J. Doty
Jim Doty started his athletic career in track and field
earning a varsity letter three years at Harvard throwing the hammer and
putting the shot with 1960 Olympic gold and silver medalists Hal Connolly and
In 1956, he finished 78th in the Boston Marathon and decided
that longer was better. He had been spending his summers on Black Cat
Island, Lake Winniepasaukee, New Hampshire. One time he had to swim one
half mile for help after his boat broke down. This swim coupled with his
26-mile marathon run and a liking for long distances, Jim started swimming
long distances in 1968, training with Jack Starrett, 1964 English Channel
Swimmer. He trained a couple of summers with Hall of Fame coach Charlie
Silvia at Pine Knoll Swim School in Massachusetts. He went on to swim
across the lengths of most New Hampshire lakes.
Then he started on the professional marathon swimming circuit
doing the 24 hour La Tuque and 28 mile Chicoutimi swims in Quebec. He
joined the World Professional Marathon Swimming Association tour with swims in
Rhode Island, Chicago, Hamilton (Ontario) and Lac Simon (Quebec). He has
done the around Cape Ann (Gloucester, MA) (12h 31m), Boston Light (14 times)
(5h), double Graves Light (11h 45m) and double Boston Light (10h).
In 1978, Jim incorporated the New England Marathon Swimming
Association (NEMSA) as a charity to promote swimming and study water
conditions. It re-started the Boston Light race on an annual basis, the
previous race being held before World War II. Hall of Famer Annette
Kellerman gained fame doing this swim. The Association administers
various local swims in the Boston area.
In the 1980s, Jim joined the "L" Street Brownies
Frozen Water Swim Club started in 1902. It promotes "polar
bear" swims in frozen lakes by chopping through the ice.
Through his efforts, Jim continues promoting and competing in
open water swimming events in the New England area. He is the keeper of the
records and archives for the area.