Ann Meraw rose to prominence as a long distance swimmer at an early age. She swam the 16.1 kilometres across Howe Sound and back in 1927, and went on to swim across Burrard Inlet at the age of 13, from Vancouver to Bowen Island.
She undertook many other competitive swims subsequently. Perhaps most prominent among these were, her32 mile swim, accomplished in 16 hours and 14 minutes, non-stop, using a six beat crawl at sixty strokes per minute. Also remarkable was her 55 mile swim in 1958 from Kelowna to Penticton, which took 32 hours -12 minutes, a feat that has never been matched. Both marathon swims were on Okanagan Lake. She has held 7 world records in marathon swimming, 4 of which stand to this day.
Mrs. Meraw became Canada’s first female registered life guard, and the only woman coach ever in the World Professional Federation of Swimming. She earned her living as a lifeguard, swimming coach, instructor and examiner. Over the years, she saved 63 people from drowning, seven as a life guard and the rest during her many thousands of hours of swimming. She has been an outstanding member of the Royal Lifesaving Society for 78 years.
Mrs. Meraw has remained active since her retirement, serving as a founding member of the Ridge Meadows Hall of Fame in Maple Ridge, president of her strata council, a Block Watch captain and a community policing volunteer, among many other community activities.
An elite athlete, a coach, and a tireless community activist, Ann Mundigel Meraw has a storied past and an involved present in Maple Ridge.