A marathon swimmer from Connecticut who endured jellyfish stings and choppy seas to earn a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records in 2019 will be honored this spring by the Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance.
Elizabeth Fry of Westport, a 1976 graduate of Staples High School who in August became the oldest swimmer in history to complete the grueling Oceans Seven, will receive the Bo Kolinsky Special Recognition Award from the CSWA at the 79th Gold Key Dinner on Sunday, April 26 at the Aqua Turf Club in the Plantsville section of Southington.
The Oceans Seven, the open water swimming community's equivalent of mountaineering's Seven Summits, consists of seven channel swims around the world, ranging from the 9-mile Strait of Gibraltar to the 26-mile Kaiwi Channel in Hawaii.
Fry began her quest by conquering the famed English Channel, a 21-mile crossing between England and France, on Aug. 20, 2003. Sixteen years and five days later, she became the 17th person in history, and the oldest at 60 years, 301 days, to complete all seven by traversing the 21.4-mile North Channel between Ireland and Scotland.
The seven components of Oceans Seven, and the dates Fry completed her swims, are:
English Channel, 21 miles between England and France (Aug. 20, 2003)
Catalina Channel, 20 miles between Catalina Island and the California mainland (Aug. 2, 2005)
Strait of Gibraltar, 9 miles between Spain and Morocco (June 11, 2013)
Kaiwi Channel, 26 miles between Molokai and Oahu, Hawaii (April 10, 2016)
Tsugaru Strait, 12.1 miles between Honshu and Hokkaido, Japan (Sept. 11, 2016)
Cook Strait, 14 miles between the North and South Island of New Zealand (March 30, 2019)
North Channel, 21.4 miles between Ireland and Scotland (Aug. 25, 2019)
Gold Key Award recipients for 2020 are five legendary scholastic coaches: Cookie Bromage (Enfield field hockey), Joe Grippo (Morgan girls volleyball and girls basketball), Lou Milardo (Hale-Ray softball), Ricky Shook (Danbury wrestling) and Angela Tammaro (Greenwich Academy field hockey and lacrosse). Baseball Hall of Fame honoree Claire Smith, 2017 recipient of the J.G. Taylor Spink Award, will receive the President’s Award.
The Gold Key Dinner was inaugurated in 1940, with baseball legend Connie Mack and golf superstar Bobby Jones among the initial recipients. The roster of honorees since then reads like a Who’s Who of Connecticut sports – Joe Cronin, Julius Boros, Willie Pep, Lindy Remigino, Floyd Little, Joan Joyce, Otto Graham, Calvin Murphy, Gordie Howe, Bill Rodgers, Geno Auriemma, Rebecca Lobo, Brian Leetch, Kristine Lilly, Marlon Starling, Dwight Freeney and ESPN founder Bill Rasmussen are just a few of the past Gold Key winners. A complete list is available at www.ctsportswriters.com.
Tickets to the Gold Key Dinner are $75 apiece, and may be reserved by contacting CSWA President Tim Jensen of Patch Media Corp. at firstname.lastname@example.org. Proceeds from the event benefit the Bo Kolinsky Memorial Sports Journalism Scholarship, named after a longtime Hartford Courant sportswriter and past CSWA president who died unexpectedly in 2003.