Gertrude Ederle – first woman to swim the English channel

“I just knew if it could be done, it had to be done–and I did it.” If you’ve felt the irresistible lure of an OW swimming challenge, you know what Gertrude meant.

She was the first woman to swim the English Channel and only the 6th person to swim it, and she bettered the existing record by more than 2 hours, crossing in 14 hours and 31 minutes.  Arriving home in the U.S. to wild acclaim, she was the first person to receive a ticker tape parade in New York City.

A new book about Ederle — America’s Girl: The Incredible Story of How Swimmer Gertrude Ederle Changed the Nation–will come out later this summer.  You can also read Gavin Mortimer’s The Great Swim, which is out in paperback now.

If you aspire to be like Trudy, you could consider taking part in the annual Ederle Swim (already full for 2009) sponsored by NYCSwim (of the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim), which is a 17.5-mile swim from Battery Park, NY to Sandy Hook, NJ, a journey Ederle herself swam in 1925 (her record stood until 2006).

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