Long distance swimmer Annabelle "Ann" Meraw, was born as Annabelle Mundigel on February 23, 1917 in Powell River, B.C. She began making long distance swims at Britannia Beach when she was ten. She competed for the Vancouver Amateur Swim Club and turn professional in 1934.

On July 28, 1938, she became a local hero when she swam 22 km. from Vancouver to Bowen Island. According to historian Chuck Davis, the Province newspaper reported the 19-year-old was "clad in black trunks and a light woollen, apple-green singlet, well greased, with ears plugged . . . and slipped off the boat-house float at English Bay at nine in the morning."; Her brother Jack guided her towards the best currents with information gained from the Union Steamship Company. Her parents escorted her in a second rowboat. During her seven-hour, 15-minute swim, she had one chocolate bar. Meraw told Chuck Davis many years later that she had removed her swimsuit and handed it to her mother in the escorting rowboat soon after beginning her swim and proceeded naked, covered in lard, for most of the way. She put her bathing suit back on when she neared a cheering crowd of well-wishers at Snug Cove.

As Canada's first female lifeguard, she founded the Canadian "water babies" swimming program. She established a world endurance record when she swam for 25 hours and one minute. She established a world speed record when she swam 51.2 km. in 16 hours and 14 minutes. On her third attempt, she successfully swam across Okanagan Lake. She was unable to complete her attempt to swim across Juan de Fuca Strait. A swimming coach until 1961, she was inducted into the BC Sports Hall of Fame in 1985. She wrote a memoir entitled Marathon Swimmer (Maple Ridge: Waite Publishing, 2004).


Marathon Swimmer (Maple Ridge: Waite Publishing, 2004).

[BCBW 2006] "Sports" "Women"