Althea Mercer Mansolillo
From Open Water Swimming Wiki
Open Water Swimming Highlights
- She grew up as part of a large family known as the Swimming Mercers of Fall River.
- She was inducted into the Rhode Island Aquatic Hall of Fame at Brown University in 1997.
- She won three open water swims in 1949-1950:
- Fall River City Length Swim
- Battery to Coney Island Swim
- Block Island Swim on 1 July 1950 when she was one of 32 swimmers who raced from Matunuck Beach at 4 am, heading for the North Point Lighthouse at the north end of Block Island. She was joined by four other members of the Swimming Mercers including her father John Mercer, her brother John Mercer Jr., and her 12-year-old twin sisters Faith Mercer and Hope Mercer. Althea Mercer won US$500 as the top woman swimmer and US$100 for her 8th place overall at the age of 22. John Mercer Jr. was 9th winning US$75 at the age of 18.
- She placed 6th in the World Professional Long Distance Swim in Lake Ontario, Canada.
- She taught swimming for 26 years to mentally and physically disabled children in Providence, Rhode Island schools and worked with the blind during summers.
- She was the first Water Safety Instructor Trainer for the handicapped at the Red Cross National Aquatic School.
- She received a commendation from the City of Providence for saving the life of a 14-year-old special education student at Pleasant View School.
- She was the first woman to serve as a lifeguard for the State of Rhode Island at Easton's Beach in Newport and Teddy Bear Beach in Portsmouth.