Life Members

Billy Wallace
Long-standing President of the ILDSA, inducted in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame as an Honour Administrator in 1999.
Kevin Murphy
Dual Honour Swimmer – International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame (1977) and International Swimming Hall of Fame (2010). “King of the North Channel” after 3 successful crossings in 1970, 1971 and 1989. One of only two people to complete the “Original Triple Crown” of English Channel, North Channel and Bristol Channel.
Margaret Smith
Marathon swimmer and long-standing member and administrator in the British Long Distance Swimming Association. Among the first to apply for membership of the ILDSA upon its formation in 1966. She is also the namesake for the ILDSA’s Margaret Smith Award, an annual award given to an individual for his or her contributions to the sport of open water swimming.
Cmmr. Gerald Forsberg OBE
Swimmer, administrator, navigator, author. Dual inductee – Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame (1965) and Pioneer Contributor, the International Swimming Hall of Fame (1998)
Peter Legge
In crossing the English Channel in 1987 Peter Legge became only the second person from Ireland to do so, and in 1990 he was a member of the first relay team to cross the North Channel. Prominent in the Newry Swimming Club and active in charity work with the Newry Lions, organising the Lions sponsored swim in schools and raising many tens of thousands of pounds for local charities.
David Bell
Davy (Dinger) Bell was one of the early members of the ILDSA and took part in a lot of swims. He was a slow swimmer but was as tough as nails. He was the first Irish man to swim the reputedly very cold Bala Lake in Wales ( 3-miles). He also served a number of years as President and a great supporter of the ILDSA up until his death some years ago.
Pádraig Mallon
Marathon and ice swimmer, triathlete, event organizer, administrator, motivator. WOWSA World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year (2014) after completing the North Channel and English Channel swims in a space of 6 weeks.
Grainne Gunn
Honour Swimmer, Hall of Fame – Marathon Swimming Ireland (2019). First Irish woman to swim the English Channel and Cook Strait.
Jack McClelland
Marathon swimmer, administrator, athlete in many fields. Honour Swimmer, Hall of Fame – Marathon Swimming Ireland (2018). Pioneer of many swims in Irish waters (including the first man to complete the Rathlin Sound swim, 1959) and abroad (first Irishman to cross the Strait of Gibraltar, 1961).
Ted Keenan
Honour Swimmer, International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame (1984). One of only two people to hold “the Original Triple Crown” of English Channel, North Channel and Bristol Channel. Namesake of the ILDSA’s Ted Keenan Ulster Open Water Swimmer of the Year – given annually to the swimmer from Ulster who has best represented open water swimming.
Monserrat Tresseras
Swimmer and administrator. Honour Swimmer, International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame (1970). First woman to swim the English Channel in both directions (England-France in 1958, France-England in 1961).
Ned Denison
Marathon/ice swimmer, pioneer, event organizer, and motivator. Inducted into International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame (IMSHOF) as an Honour Administrator (2012). Co-founder of the Hall of Fame – Marathon Swimming Ireland
Kieran Fitzgerald
Marathon swimmer, event organizer, motivator. “The Godfather of Irish Channel swimming”. Honour Swimmer, Hall of Fame – Marathon Swimming Ireland (2018). Prolific career including English Channel, Strait of Gibraltar, and Manhattan Island Marathon Swim; first Irishman to complete the Rottnest Channel Swim.
Conor Gunn
Honour Swimmer, Hall of Fame – Marathon Swimming Ireland (2020). Winner (10 times in a row) of the 17 km men’s Irish Open Water Swimming Championships. English Channel 1994 – fastest crossing of the year.
Willy Van Rysel
Swimmer and motivator. Dual Honour Swimmer in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame (2002) and International Masters Swimming Hall of Fame (2008)
Brian Meharg MBE
Boatman and escort pilot of the North Channel since 1962 (between 1989 and 2009, the only pilot active on this Channel). Honour Contributor (Pilot), Hall of Fame – Marathon Swimming Ireland (2018)
Geoff Wilson
Geoffrey first came into the ILDSA as a swimmer, he was very strong and fast and was well placed in most swims, including the Lough Erne 17 Km Championship. He also organised the Championship in 2012/2013, as well as the Portrush and Carrickfergus events on one or two occasions and was very enthusiast about the sport and the ILDSA.