Monday, June 9, 2008

A Mile Swim Like No Other

Intercontinental Swim Medal Asia to Europe 1967

Mile Swim Award Requirements:

1.) Explain how regular exercise contributes to good health and why swimming is one of the best forms of exercise.

2.) Tell what precautions and procedures a swimmer and escort must follow for distance swimming over open water.

3.) Under the supervision of a currently qualified certified aquatics instructor, BSA or equivalent, participate in four hours of training and preparation for distance swimming (one hour a day maximum).

4.) Swim 1 mile (1,600 meters) over an approved, measured course.

What do you remember about the days when you earned your Mile Swim award? In my father's day he thinks it was 22 laps around the pool at Camp Currier in Eudora, Mississippi. During my summer camp at Camp Freedom, Dauphte, Germany, (affectionately known as Damp Freezedom), seldom did anyone complete the mile swim as you would most likely suffer from hyperthermia due to the cool weather at camp. However, during the 1960's and 1970's when the Transatlantic Council held summer camps in the Istanbul area, they really had the mile swim to beat all mile swims. To earn the award, you had to swim from Asia to Europe. Sounds kind of daunting, yes?

Actually, the distance across the Bosporus Strait was approximately 1 mile. That being said, however, did not make it easy. You see it was also a ship channel and you did have to fight some currents as well. Boats had to go out with each swimmer to make sure they didn't swim into a path of an oncoming vessel.

To my knowledge, no records were ever kept of who complete this scoutly challenge. I recently purchased a rather non-descript medal that has only the Fleur de lis on the front. On the back simply says Boy Scouts 1967 Intercontinental Swim Asia to Europe.

By the way, my claim to fame is I canoed from Germany to France down the Lauter River. Ok, so it was only around 20kms as the crows flies.

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