Irving Davids/Captain Roger W. Wheeler Memorial Award

2003 The British Long Distance Swimming Association


The British Long Distance Swimming Association was officially founded in 1956 upon the suggestion and urging of John Slater and Philip Rising to promote open water swimming.


Since that time, the leadership, membership and athlete representation reads like a “who’s who” in marathon swimming. The BLDSA conducts a series of annual events throughout Great Britain and has acted as a model for sister-type organizations in Scotland and Ireland. The BLDSA holds the Lake Windemere International Championship every four years. This event was the premier event for amateur marathon swimmers until FINA relaxed some of its rules concerning professionalism. It continues to be a very important race on the international calendar.


The FINA Open Water Swimming Rules were developed from the BLDSA rules and guidelines. The BLDSA provided the leadership to FINA in the formation of the FINA Technical Open Water Swimming Organization. BLDSA members served on the various developmental open water committees and commissions until the FINA Technical Open Water Swimming Committee was officially formed. To this day, the BLDSA continues to conduct a very active program of championships and to serve as a role model for open water swimming organizations throughout the world.

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