Courtesy of Encyclopedia Britannica

417: Gertrude Ederle

The First woman to Swim the English Channel

Born: 23 October 1905, New York City, New York, United States of America

Died: 30 November 2003, Wyckoff, New Jersey, United States of America

Olympic Gold Medalist; Gertrude also used to be the world record holder in several different swimming events. She even recovered from a spinal injury to swim at the 1939 World’s Fair.

Gertrude retired from professional swimming in the 1940’s after losing her hearing. The exact cause was never confirmed, with people suspecting either an illness like measles as a child, or even damage from her record-breaking swim across the English Channel. Whatever caused the damage, Gertrude spent the rest of her career as a swimming instructor for deaf children.

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