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Records & Firsts

1872

  • First attempt to swim the Channel.
    J. B. Johnson (England)
    Abandoned after 1 hour 3 mins

1875

  • First 'swim' single-handed crossing
    Captain Paul Boyton (USA).
    In inflatable rubber suit with canvas sail fixed to left boot and double-bladed paddle.
    England to France. 23 hours, 30 minutes.

1875

  • First man to swim the Channel
    Matthew Webb (England)
    England to France. 21 hours, 45 minutes. 24 August.

1890

  • First man to swim the Channel from France to England
    Davis Dalton (USA)
    Debated and unconfirmed

1923

  • Slowest crossing of the Channel
    Henry Sullivan (USA)
    26 hours, 50 minutes.

 

  • First man to swim Channel, France to England (confirmed)
    Enrico Tiraboschi (Argentina)
    16 hours and 30 minutes. 12 August

1926

  • First woman to swim the Channel
    Gertrude Ederle (USA). 14 hours and 33 minutes. 6 August 1926.

1927

  • First man to swim the Channel both ways
    E. H. Temme (England)

1933

  • First attempt by a limbless swimmer
    Charles Zibelman ('Zimmy the Human Fish')
    Failed due to jellyfish sting
    (in 1990, Lucy Krajewska (Poland) made the first successful crossing by a legless person)

1934

  • First man to swim Channel twice
    E. H. Temme (England)
    1927 and 1934

1935

  • First relay team crossing
    Team of 6 Calais swimmers

1951

  • First woman to swim the Channel twice and the first woman to swim both ways.
    Florence Chadwick (USA)
    1950 and 1951

 

Florence Chadwick and Jack 'Pop' Burwill, channel pilot for many channel swimming attempts

1951

  • First crossing by a grandmother
    Betty Cohn (aged 50)

1952

  • Shortest ever attempt
    Bruno Tajana, a Swiss swimmer, gave up after 100 yards (water was knee-deep)

1953

  • Greatest non-race attempt
    Butlins Channel Race of 5th August - 8 competitors, 2 did not start, 6 did not finish

1954

  • First person to die swimming the Channel
    Ted May (England)
    Drowned whilst attempting an unescorted crossing

1961

  • First man to swim both ways non-stop
    Antonio Abertondo (Argentina)
    43 hours 5 mins

1962

  • First man to swim the Channel underwater
    Fred Baldasare (USA). 19 hours 1 min in frogmans suit.

1981

  • First non-stop 3-way crossing
    Jon Erikson (USA)

1987

  • Oldest swimmer to cross the Channel
    Clifford Batt (Australia), aded 67

1988

  • Youngest swimmer to cross the channel
    Thomas Gregory (England), aged 11 years
    (Since 1994 the rules forbid solo attempts by swimmers under the age of 16)

 

 

 

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