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Swimmer

1885 May 19
“Professor” Robert Emmet Odlum of Washington, D.C., a well named swimming instructor and author of pamphlets on diving, jumped from Brooklyn bridge. He entered the water feet first (as was the accepted diving position at the time) and shattered every bone in his frame from heel to skull. He was pulled from the river unconscious and died a half hour later.
Links: USA, NYC, Swimmer     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1907
Swimmer Arthur Cavill landed at the San Francisco Presidio an hour and 18 minutes from his departure at Lime Point in Marin.
Links: USA, SF, SF Bay Area, Swimmer     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1908 Jun 13
Swimmer F. Riehl demonstrated a kite attached to himself before the crew of the battleship Connecticut in the SF Bay. It carried him through the water for more than half a mile.
Links: USA, SF Bay Area, Swimmer     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1912 Aug
Nellie Schmidt of Alameda became the 1st woman to swim across the SF Bay. She crossed from the Vallejo St. wharf to Oakland in 3 hours and 6 minutes. F.M. Riehl (72), the 1st man to swim across in 1872, coached her.
Links: USA, SF Bay Area, Swimmer     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1924 May
Gertrude Ederle won a gold medal the summer Olympics in Paris as a member of the US 400-meter relay team.
Links: USA, France, Olympics, Swimmer     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1926 Aug 6
Gertrude "Trudy" Ederle (1905-2003), American Olympic gold medalist, became the first woman to swim the English Channel. 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. 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., 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. Ederle died Nov 30, 2003. [see Sep 11,1951]
Links: Britain, USA, France, Olympics, Swimmer     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1951 Sep 11
Florence Chadwick (1918-1995), American endurance swimmer, swam English Channel from England to France in 16 hours & 22 minutes [see Aug 6, 1926]. This made her the first woman to swim the English Channel in both directions, and set a record for the England-France journey. All told, she swam the English Channel four times and the Catalina Channel three times.
Links: Britain, USA, France, World Record, Swimmer     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1956
In Australia Murray Rose (1939-2012) became an Olympic champion winning the first of his three gold medals at the Melbourne Games in the 4 x 200m freestyle relay.
Links: Australia, Olympics, Swimmer     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1959
Gene Smith and Henry Beecher of Harvard Univ. showed that short distance swimmers who were given amphetamines swam faster than those who received a placebo. This was the first study to show that drugs had any real physiological effect.
Links: USA, Massachusetts, Drugs, Swimmer     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1972 Aug 31
At the Munich Summer Olympics American swimmer Mark Spitz won his fourth and fifth gold medals, in the 100-meter butterfly and 800-meter freestyle relay.
Links: USA, Germany, Olympics, Swimmer     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1972 Sep 4
U.S. swimmer Mark Spitz won a record seventh Olympic gold medal in the 400-meter relay at the Munich Summer Olympics.
Links: USA, Germany, Olympics, Swimmer     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1978 Jul 13
Walter Poenisch completed a "swim for peace" from Cuba to the US in 34 hours and 15 min. He used flippers and made the swim unassisted.

Links: USA, Cuba, Swimmer     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1979 Aug 20
Diana Nyad succeeded in her 3rd attempt to swim from the Bahamas to Florida.
Links: Bahamas, USA, Florida, Swimmer     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1983 Apr 23
Buster Crabbe (b.1908), 400m US swimmer (Olympics-gold-1932), died.
Links: Olympics, Filmstar, Swimmer     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1983 Aug 18
Samantha Druce earned a place in the Guinness Book of Records as the youngest person to swim the English Channel. She completed the crossing in 15 hours 26 minutes at the age of 12 years 118 days.
Links: Britain, World Record, Swimmer, Kids     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
1984 Jan 20
Johnny Weissmuller (79), Romania-born US swimmer (Olympics-5 gold-1924, 28), movie actor (Tarzan), died in Acapulco, Mexico. In 2002 his son (1940-2006) published “Tarzan, My Father.”
Links: USA, Mexico, Filmstar, Swimmer     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1985 Oct 15
Shelley Taylor of Australia made the fastest swim ever around Manhattan Island, doing it in 6 hours 12 minutes 29 seconds.
Links: Australia, USA, NYC, Swimmer     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1988 Sep 19
Swimmer Janet Evans gave the United States its first gold medal of the Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, by winning the 400-meter individual medley. US swimmer Greg Louganis hit his head on the springboard during preliminary competition.
Links: USA, South Korea, Olympics, Swimmer     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1988 Sep 20
Greg Louganis of the United States won the gold medal in springboard diving at the Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, a day after he injured his head on the board in the preliminary round.
Links: USA, South Korea, Olympics, Swimmer     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1992 Jul 28
At the Barcelona Olympics, the U.S. women's 400-meter freestyle relay team won the gold medal.
Links: Spain, USA, Olympics, Swimmer     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
Timelines
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1992 Jul 29
The U.S. 400-meter freestyle relay team won the gold medal at the Barcelona Summer Olympics.
Links: Spain, USA, Olympics, Swimmer     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1992 Jul 31
Summer Sanders became the first American athlete to win four medals at the Barcelona Olympics as she won the gold in the women's 200-meter butterfly.
Links: Spain, USA, Olympics, Swimmer     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1995 Apr 25
Show business legend Ginger Rogers died in Rancho Mirage, Calif., at age 83.
Links: California, Filmstar, Swimmer     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1996 Jun 8
Australian swimmer Susie Maroney began to swim the 110 miles across the Florida Straits to Key West from Havana, Cuba.
Links: Australia, Cuba, Swimmer     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1996 Jun 9
Australian swimmer Susie Maroney was pulled from the water about ten miles from the Florida Keys, but officially in US waters.
Links: Australia, Florida, Swimmer     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1996 Jul 21
At the Atlanta Olympics, swimmer Tom Dolan gave the United States its first gold, in the 400-meter individual medley. The men's 800-meter freestyle relay team also won.
Links: GeorgiaUS, Olympics, Swimmer     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1996 Jul 26
Amy Van Dyken became the first American woman to win four gold medals at a single Olympics as she captured the 50-meter freestyle in Atlanta.
Links: GeorgiaUS, Olympics, Swimmer     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1997 May 12
Susie Maroney, Australian swimmer, became the first woman to swim the 105 mile swim from Cuba to Key West, Fla., in 24 hours and 31 min. AP says 118-mile distance in 24 1/2 hours.
Links: Australia, Cuba, Florida, Swimmer     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1998 Sep 25
Frenchman Benoit Lecomte reached the Brittany coast after a 72-day swim across the Atlantic that began Jul 16 at Hyannis, Mass.
Links: France, World Record, Swimmer     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1999
Esther Williams (77), former swimming champion and film star, published her autobiography "The Million Dollar Mermaid."
Links: Filmstar, Books, Swimmer     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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2002 Sep 10
Martin Strel of Slovenia finished swimming the 2,360-mile length of the Mississippi. He began July 4 and covered 11-12 miles per day.
Links: Slovenia, Mississippi, Swimmer     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
2004 Aug 20
In Athens, Michael Phelps matched Mark Spitz's record of four individual gold medals in the Olympic pool with a stirring comeback in the 100-meter butterfly, then removed himself from further competition.
Links: Olympics, Greece, Swimmer     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
2005 Oct 24
Abigail Brinkman (28), of Columbus, Ind., died and three companions spent three days floating in the stormy Caribbean off Belize after their weekend diving trip went awry.
Links: Belize, Indiana, Swimmer     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
2006 Mar 23
Mike Horn (39) of South Africa and Borge Ousland (43) of Norway completed a 620-mile trek without outside supplies or help from dog sleds to the North Pole after 64 days of walking, skiing, climbing, swimming across ice openings.
Links: Arctic, South Africa, Norway, Swimmer     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
2006 May 22
Braxton Bilbrey (7) of Arizona swam from Alcatraz Island to San Francisco in 47 minutes.
Links: USA, SF, Arizona, SF Bay Area, Swimmer     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
2006 Aug 17
In the Arctic ice Lt. Jessica Hill (31) and Boatswain's Mate Steven Duque (22), divers on the US Coast Guard cutter Healy, died during a practice dive.
Links: Arctic, USA, Swimmer     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
2007 Apr 7
In Brazil Martin Strel, a 52-year-old Slovenian, completed a 3,272 swim down the Amazon River that could set a world record for distance. In 2000, he completed an 1,866-mile swim along the Danube. He broke that record two years later after swimming 2,360 miles down the Mississippi. In 2004 he broke it again by swimming 2,487 miles along the Yangtze river in China.
Links: Brazil, Slovenia, Swimmer     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
2008 Feb 12
Speedo introduced its new LZR Racer swimsuit. By June 38 of 42 world swimming records were broken by swimmers wearing the suit.
Links: USA, World Record, Swimmer     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
2009 Feb 5
Jennifer Figge (56) arrived in Trinidad, exhilarated and exhausted as she touched land this week for the first time in almost a month, becoming the first woman on record to allegedly swim across the Atlantic Ocean. Figge actually swam only a fraction of the 2,100-mile journey. The rest of the time, she rested on her crew's westward-sailing catamaran.
Links: USA, Trinidad, Swimmer     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
2009 Aug 12
In France a 35-year-old convert to Islam, identified only as Carole, complained of religious discrimination after trying to go swimming in a "burquini," a full-body swimsuit, in the town of Emerainville, southeast of Paris. Officials insisted they banned the woman's use of the Islam-friendly suit at a local pool because of France's pool hygiene standards.
Links: France, Fashion, Swimmer     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
Timelines
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2010 Sep 18
Frenchman Philippe Croizon (42), whose arms and legs were amputated, swam about 21 miles across the English Channel in 13½ hours using leg prostheses that have flippers attached.
Links: France, Swimmer     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
2011 Oct 16
Hong Kong's iconic 1.8km cross-harbor swimming race made its return after a 33-year suspension forced by pollution and heavy traffic on the famous waterway. The tradition dating back to 1906 was halted in 1978 as water quality deteriorated.
Links: Hong Kong, Swimmer     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
2012 Jul 22
A British man attempting to swim the Channel died off the French coast.
Links: Britain, Swimmer     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
2012 Jul 30
In London Lithuanian Ruta Meilutyte, claimed as an "adopted Brit," became the youngest winner of the Olympic event at 15 years and 133 days when she won the 100m breaststroke final over American world champion Rebecca Soni. She became Lithuania's first Olympic swimming champion.
Links: Britain, Lithuania, Olympics, Swimmer     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
2012 Aug 21
American swimmer Diana Nyad (63) ended her 4th attempt to swim from Cuba to Florida after 41 hours and 45 minutes of swimming.
Links: USA, Florida, Swimmer     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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2013 Jun 6
Esther Williams (91), teenage swimming champion and Hollywood star, died in Beverly Hills. Her films included “Andy Hardy’s Double Life” (1942), “Bathing Beauty” (1944) and “Jupiter’s Darling” (1955). Her 1999 autobiography was titled “The Million Dollar Mermaid.”
Links: USA, Biography, Swimmer     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
2013 Sep 2
US endurance swimmer Diana Nyad (64), on her 5th attempt, became the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage.
Links: USA, Cuba, Florida, Swimmer     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 



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