One of the more curious stories I’ve come across in my research of Seal Beach is the tale of Jimmy Slyter and his nationally publicized, but somewhat sketchy, quest in 1946 to swim from Catalina and use the money raided to marry Anne Brennan, one of “Seal Beach’s beauties.”   From being on national headlines, we can find only one more reference to Slyter when he attempted to swim out to Tony Cornero’s Lux gambling ship but appears to have been lost at sea.  Does anyone know hat happened to Slyter?  Was his body found?  Did he ever show up elsewhere? It’s just strange that the papers make no more mention of this.  Below is what we do know?

 

On April 28, 1946, Navy veteran Jimmy Slyter, a 19-year old ” veteran of 10 Pacific engagements” jumped in the water off Catalina in a quest to become the third person to swim the 22 miles to the mainland.  The residents of Seal Beach had raised a $500 purse for Slyter if he finished, a sum he promised to use “for his wedding to Anne Brennan, one of Seal Beach’s beauties.”  Slyter had been making good time and was five miles off the mainland when a big wave knocked him against the boat and caused the doctor to advise against continuing.[1]  Undaunted, the citizens of Seal Beach raised additional monies and Slyter announced he would try it again.[2] A few months later newspapers around the nation were still playing up the story, and featuring another AP wirephoto of Jimmy, this time running through the surf with fiancé Rose Anne.” He repeated his vow to make it, she repeated her vow to marry him “IF”, and by now the purse was up to $5,000.  Although we don’t hear much more of the Catalina quest, the LA Times did note in early August that on a whim, Slyter decided he wanted to see Tony Cornero’s gambling boat, the Lux, which was then moored three miles off Seal Beach.  Three friends were supposed to stay with him in a dory but they apparently lost track of him and the following day the Coast Guard launched a search.[3]



[1] Spokane Spokesman-Review, April 29, 1946, p7.  AP story.

[2] Ogden, Utah Standard-Examiner, p12.  July AP story.

[3] LA Times, Aug 7, 1946, p1

2 thoughts on “The strange case of Jimmy Slyter: Seal Beach’s romantic but unlucky swimmer.”
  1. It’s an interesting coincidence that famed long distance swimmer Lynne Cox who actually did successfully swim the distance between Catalina Island and the mainland among other feats, grew up in Los Alamitos and attended Los Alamitos High School!

  2. It’s an interesting coincidence that famed long distance swimmer Lynne Cox who actually did successfully swim the distance between Catalina Island and the mainland among other feats, grew up in Los Alamitos and attended Los Alamitos High School!

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