top of page

Bill Sadlo Jr.


- An Inspiration to All Ageing Swimmers -

On 23rd August 1957, William (Bill) Sadlo became the first American, and, at age 57 years and 116 days, the oldest person to cross Lake Ontario. His accomplishment as the oldest male conqueror of the lake still stands in 2021. The longevity of his record further emphasizes the magnitude of his achievement back in 1957. He completed his swim from south to north in a time of 25 hours 10 minutes and attributed much of the success in his crossing to his Canadian swimming coach, Pat Roach.

From the New York City area, Bill had already established a long and significant history of swimming, both as a sprinter and as a marathon swimmer. 

Bill also crossed Lake Erie at age 52 in a 31.7-mile race from Point Pelee Park to Sandusky, Ohio in 15 hours 30 minutes.

In 2009, Bill was elected into the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame.

He was a member of the International Professional Swimmers Association. 

Bill died in August 1959 at age 59; however, in the previous year, he placed third out of 10 competitors in the second annual, 13.5 mile, Lake Hopatcong swim in New Jersey. 

Taken from Wind, Waves and Sunburn and Bill's letterhead:

  • Atlantic City, New Jersey, 22 mile (35.2 km) Professional Swim:

1954 Eleventh 10:35:40

  • Canadian National Exhibition Professional Swims, Toronto:

1937 - 10 Miles: Eighth, 4:57:08
1949 - 15 Miles: Third, 9:44:10
1949: Due to the 10.5 degree C water temperature, only three swimmers
completed the course - Cliff Lumsdon, Ben Gazel & Bill Sadlo.

  • Around Manhattan Island:

1927, September 25
1928, July 1
1930, July 9
1930, July 27

  • Battery to Coney Island, 1930, Record 3 hours 39 mins, breaking previous record of 4 hours 15 mins.

  • Battery to Statue of Liberty, 1930, 58 Minutes 43 seconds

The stimulus for this web page was provided by Bill's proud granddaughter, Jeannine Sadlo, who also provided photographs, news clippings, and Bill's letterhead. Additional photos were provided by Ken Morrison.

bottom of page