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The start on the beach at Port Sanilac.


The crowds at the finish in Port Franks were enormous.

John Bulsza

*Swimmer, Swim Master and sailor

When John was a lifeguard on the shore of Lake Huron near Sarnia, he would dream of swimming across the lake to Michigan - a mere distance of 2 miles; however, he never did complete that swim. He did, however, compete in a number of swims across the St. Clair river and swam for the University of Western Ontario (UWO) varsity swim team.   He taught for ten years in the Catholic Elementary School system.

So John's dream of a Lake Huron swim was formed over more than a quarter of a century and was supported by his strong religious beliefs. And so it was that, at age 46, he pioneered a route across Lake Huron (from Port Sanilac, Michigan to Port Franks, Ontario) on 31 August and 1 September 1996 in 26 hours 49 minutes.

  • His swim started from the beach to the north of the harbour at Port Sanilac, Michigan (43.432644N, 82.536763W).

  • The finish was at Port Franks beach, Ontario (43.231527N, 81.913805W).

  • The straight-line distance for the course is 55.2 km (34.3 miles).

  • Due to a shoulder injury sustained during training, John alternated his strokes almost every 10 minutes from Free to Back to Breast.

John's swim raised around $11,000 for a number of charities related to his religious activities in the community:

  • London Crisis Pregnancy Centre.

  • Birthright, in both Sarnia and London, Ontario.

  • Rehoboth Home of Refuge for pregnant, unwed youth.

  • London Area Right-to-Life Association.

On an amusing note, John still expects to collect a further $5 in support of these charities. During his years as a lifeguard on the Lake Huron waterfront, he had a girlfriend who bet him $5 that by the age of 45 he would be out-of-shape and fat. 

John has been a Swim Master for SSO for many years. His knowledge of sailing, weather and swimming is a real asset.

John has another dream - a desire to sail a boat across the Atlantic - single handed. Oh!, and it's for real - he has been working with a computer simulation of sailing . . .

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