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Loreen Passfield

An Outstanding Canadian Marathoner

Perhaps Canada's fastest female marathon swimmer of the 1970's, Loreen Passfield's accomplishments have probably been overshadowed by the highly-publicized achievements of Cindy Nicholas and Vicki Keith.

On September 1st, 1979, Loreen Passfield crossed the lake at age 21 with an impressive time of 15 hours 43 minutes. A time that is second only to the long-standing 15:10 women's record of Cindy Nicholas. Fifteen years after her Lake Ontario swim, Loreen is seen here at the dedication ceremony for the plaque at Niagara-on-the-lake.

In 1978, Loreen became the fastest Canadian ever to cross the English Channel with a time of 9:02 from England to France - 44 minutes faster than Cindy Nicholas's 1975 France-England time. In fact, Cindy Nicholas crossed the Channel 14 times before she improved on Loreen's swim when she clocked her World Record England-France time of 8:29 in 1981.

Both Loreen and Cindy Nicholas competed in the Lac Saint-Jean professional swims. Loreen completed the 32 km (20 mile) race in five successive years (1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979). In their three head-to-head swims (1976, 1977, 1978) Loreen was beaten by Cindy only once (1976). Loreen has the honour of their fastest time on the course with an 8:42:30, when she beat Cindy by 13 minutes 29 seconds in the 1977 race. For five years, between 1975 and 1979, Loreen was ranked in the top five by the World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation and was number one rankings in 1975 and 1979. 

In 1977, Loreen was one of five on the final ballot for the Lou Marsh Award, given to Canada’s Athlete of the Year. She was inducted into the Etobicoke Sports Hall of Fame in 2019.

Undoubtedly one of Canada's most under-rated and outstanding Canadian Marathoners of the 1970's.

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