NYC SWIM

Resources English Channel

English Channel

American Olympic gold medalist Gertrude "Trudy" Ederle became the first woman to swim the English Channel in August 1926. Before setting out from Cap Griz-Nez, France, at 7:09 a.m., Ederle coated her body with layers of lard and petroleum jelly to insulate her from the cold waters.

English Channel

On that day, the sea was so rough that steamship crossings had been cancelled, but Ederle swam on in spite of being buffeted by waves and plagued by seasickness. She reached Dover at 9:40 p.m., August 6, after swimming the Channel in 14 hours and 39 minutes. This time broke the existing world record of 21 hours and 45 minutes set by British Navy Captain Matthew Webb in 1875.

A large percentage of Manhattan Island Marathon Swim participants either go on to swim or have successfully crossed the channel.

View articles in our archive about the English Channel.

View frequently asked questions about the English Channel.