Marilyn Bell Swimmer
September 9, 2012 by staff
Marilyn Bell Swimmer, Marilyn Grace Bell Di Lascio is a retired long distance swimmer, born October 19, 1937, in Toronto, Ontario. She was the first person to swim across Lake Ontario and later swam the English Channel and Strait of Juan de Fuca.
Bell was born in Toronto, Ontario to parents Sydney and Grace Bell. The family moved to North Bay, Ontario, then Halifax, Nova Scotia before returning to Toronto in 1946.
After her swimming career, Marilyn married Joe Di Lascio and moved to New Jersey, United States. They raised four children, Lisa, Michael, Jodi, and Janet. Joe died in September 2007.
Bell first took up swimming lessons in 1946 at Oakwood Pool, joining the Dolphinette Club coached by Alex Duff. In 1947, Bell entered her first long-distance race: a one-mile swim at the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) in Lake Ontario. It was at that first race that Bell first met her future coach Gus Ryder, who was coach of the Lakeshore Swimming Club. Bell soon joined the Lakeshore Club and started practising at the indoor pool of Humberside Collegiate in Toronto.
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