Chadwick, Florence May

Chadwick, Florence May,

1918–95, American distance swimmer, b. San Diego, Calif. She began swimming at the age of six, and four years later she swam the San Diego Bay Channel, the first child to do so. On Aug. 8, 1950, she broke Gertrude EderleEderle, Gertrude Caroline
, 1905–2003, American swimmer, b. New York City. Ederle won three medals in the 1924 Olympic games. On Aug. 6, 1926, she became the first woman to swim the English Channel, which she crossed in rough seas in 14 hr and 31 min, breaking the previous
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's 24-year record for English Channel swims by women. Florence Chadwick covered the 20 mi (32 km) from France to England in 13 hr 20 min. She also swam (Sept., 1951) from England to France, becoming the first woman to swim the channel in both directions. In 1952 she became the first woman to swim the 21-mi (34-km) Catalina Channel off Long Beach, Calif., breaking speed records for any swimmer (13 hr 47 min). She swam the Bosporus, the Dardanelles, and the Strait of Gibraltar in 1953.
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