Records & Firsts
- First attempt to swim the Channel.
J. B. Johnson (England)
Abandoned after 1 hour 3 mins
- 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.
- First man to swim the Channel
Matthew Webb (England)
England to France. 21 hours, 45 minutes. 24 August.
- First man to swim the Channel from France to England
Davis Dalton (USA)
Debated and unconfirmed
- 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
- First woman to swim the Channel
Gertrude Ederle (USA). 14 hours and 33 minutes. 6 August 1926.
- First man to swim the Channel both ways
E. H. Temme (England)
- 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)
- First man to swim Channel twice
E. H. Temme (England)
1927 and 1934
- First relay team crossing
Team of 6 Calais swimmers
- 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
- First crossing by a grandmother
Betty Cohn (aged 50)
- Shortest ever attempt
Bruno Tajana, a Swiss swimmer, gave up after 100 yards (water was knee-deep)
- Greatest non-race attempt
Butlins Channel Race of 5th August - 8 competitors, 2 did not start, 6 did not finish
- First person to die swimming the Channel
Ted May (England)
Drowned whilst attempting an unescorted crossing
- First man to swim both ways non-stop
Antonio Abertondo (Argentina)
43 hours 5 mins
- First man to swim the Channel underwater
Fred Baldasare (USA). 19 hours 1 min in frogmans suit.
- First non-stop 3-way crossing
Jon Erikson (USA)
- Oldest swimmer to cross the Channel
Clifford Batt (Australia), aded 67
- 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)
Kent CT16 1PH
Tel: 01304 201066
9.30-5.00 Monday to Saturday
10.00 - 3.00 Sunday from 23rd May 2021
Please see our COVID update for current information on opening times.