Bryan Finlay – International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame – May 2020


Great and well-deserved honour for Bryan Finlay who will be inducted into the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame as an Honor Contributor in May.

Finlay is a member of London Silver Dolphins and a long-time supporter of Solo Swims of Ontario as a swimmer, pilot, swim master, and administrator.


A pilot:  person with detailed knowledge of an area of water, such as that around a port, who goes onto a ship to direct it safely (Source: Cambridge Oxford English dictionary)


Bryan Finlay is a pilot who swims.


Perched in a boat for safety, keeping an eye on the buoys on the Great Lakes, running aspirant training seminars – Bryan Finlay has shepherded swimmers on their marathon crossings of the mighty lakes. His contributions to open-water swimming through Solo Swims are immeasurable.


His eye is always first to safety. The exact detail of Ontario weather fascinates him. He has tried to explain the summer lightning to his international friends. How do you account for that unique mix of humidity that rolls across a summer sky and end a swimmer’s dreams in the blink of an eye?


As for Bryan the swimmer, there is a theatre of the absurd element to what he does in the water.  He is a master of breaststroke. It’s painful just to read his record-setting accomplishments.


1992 Swim of Lake Erie

While he never did complete his attempt at swimming Lake Ontario in 1992, he does have bragging rights on Lake Erie. But, why swim Erie with his perfectly serviceable freestyle, like a normal swimmer?


After all, his breaststroke is perfect for the job. And so, in 2001, at age 58, he swam 22.1 kilometres in 10 hours 44 minutes to set a record.


Husband, father, grandfather, poet, scientist, and Canadian folk music aficionado,  – Bryan is one of the reasons we swim masters.  Congratulations from everyone at Masters Swimming Ontario!


For a complete listing of his accomplishments, visit:

For the story on his swim, read Solo Yet Never Alone Swimming the Great Lakes

… written by Laura E Young