Irving Davids/Captain Roger W. Wheeler Memorial Award

1977  Conrad Albert Wennerberg

1932 – 2016


Conrad Wennerberg was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. He attended the University of Chicago Medical School with an interest and focus in what would become known as Sports Medicine. He dropped out when he became engrossed in marathon swimming and moved to Hyde Park, Illinois so he could swim four to five miles a day.


Besides working and taking his daily swims he coached many, including Dennis Matuch and Ted Erikson (the first double crosser of the English Channel), both of whom are IMSHOF Honor Swimmer inductees.


Conrad developed a keen interest in cold water swimming, which was an element he brought to his coaching. Cold water swimming became the norm for him, as he swam in Lake Michigan every single day for seven years. In the winter he would take an ice pick or axe to chip away the lakefront ice to gain access to the water.


He was an eminent historian of marathon swimming and in 1974, he wrote “Wind, Waves and Sunburn”, a book chronicling the history of marathon swimming that at the time was considered the sport’s most definitive work.


He was Chairman Emeritus of the IMSHOF.


In 1977 he was inducted into the IMSHOF as an Honor Administrator and awarded the Irving Davids / Captain Roger W. Wheeler Memorial Award.


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