SI Vault
Edited by Steve Wulf
September 12, 1988
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September 12, 1988


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Congratulations to Vicki Keith, a 27-year-old swimming instructor from Kingston, Ont., who last week became the first person to swim across all five Great Lakes. In crossing Lake Ontario on Aug. 29 and 30—a journey of 31.6 miles that took her 23 hours and 32 minutes—Keith also set a women's world endurance record for the butterfly stroke (24 miles).

Keith began her odyssey on July 1 by crossing Lake Erie (12.4 miles); she had to abandon her attempt to recross after a total of 21 miles and 20 hours. On July 18 she became the first swimmer to traverse Lake Huron, stroking 48 miles in 47 hours. On July 26 she swam across Lake Michigan, doing 45 miles in 53 hours. And on Aug. 15 she became the first to swim across Lake Superior—20 miles in 17 hours. During her five crossings, she braved water temperatures as low as 54�, bad weather and pollution. All in all, she spent more than 160 hours swimming 166 miles of the Great Lakes. "I feel good," she said upon landing in Toronto after crossing Lake Ontario. "I'm glad it's over, though."

Best of all, Keith's accomplishments raised more than $240,000 for a swimming pool at Variety Village, a training and fitness center for the disabled in Scarborough, Ont.


A group of pirates in San Diego has turned the tables on New Zealander Michael Fay, who used a loophole in the Deed of Gift to force this week's America's Cup races against the San Diego Yacht Club. Chuck Fox and Phil Herr discovered that Fay had neglected to register the name of the Mercury Bay Boating Club to do business in California, so the two San Diego businessmen promptly incorporated under that name and had T-shirts, baseball caps and sun visors printed with a Mercury Bay logo. Their purpose, though, isn't to make money for themselves, but rather to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association and to poke a little fun at the often rancorous Cup proceedings. The motto of their club, for instance, is: Mine is bigger than yours...and I can prove it in court. According to the bylaws in the official Vice-Commodore kit, "members are not required to care which rich guy wins the America's Cup," and "members are required, should they ever actually be forced to race, to voice as many excuses for losing as possible beforehand."

Fay apparently has a sense of humor about the poaching because he wore one of the ersatz Mercury Bay Boating Club T-shirts to a pre-Cup meeting with Dennis Conner.


Like the 1919 white sox, the movie "eight men out" would seem to have all the ingredients of a classic winner. The film, which opened last week, was written and directed by the very talented John Sayles, who also plays sportswriter Ring Lardner. It was obviously a labor of love for Sayles, who 11 years ago wrote the screenplay based on Eliot Asinof's 1963 book of the same name. Sayles assembled a superb cast for Eight Men Out, and he and his crew were able to capture the feel of baseball and the period. But like the Black Sox, the movie is a disappointment.

The fault lies not in the stars. Particularly good are John Cusack as Buck Weaver, D.B. Sweeney as Shoeless Joe Jackson, David Strathairn as Eddie Cicotte and John Mahoney as the manager, Kid Gleason. Even some of the smaller performances are wonderful; veteran character actor John Anderson, for example, is the very embodiment of Kenesaw Mountain Landis. As the director, Sayles has brought out the best in just about every member of the cast.

But as the screenwriter, Sayles has been too faithful to Asinof's linear and somewhat complicated book. There are too many people and too many plot distractions, and Sayles keeps losing the pulse. After the World Series has been played, the movie moves into the courthouse and goes as flat as the cheap champagne Charles Comiskey (Clifton James, in another gem of a performance) tried to serve his team when the Sox clinched the pennant. And for some reason, the famous "Say it ain't so, Joe" scene is a clinker.

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