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Florence Chadwick

From Openwaterpedia
Florence Chadwick, an Honor Swimmer inducted in 1970 in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame
Florence Chadwick, in 1954 - Strait of Juan de Fuca attempt
Restaurant inside The Florence named after Florence Chadwick

Florence May Chadwick (born 9 November 1918 in San Diego, California – 15 March 1995) was an American open water swimmer who inducted in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame in 1966 as an Honor Swimmer. She was similarly honored by the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1970 as an Honor Swimmer. She also made contributions to various youth groups. Chadwick was a typist and swimming coach from California, U.S.A.

Open Water Swimming Career

  • She completed her first open water swim at the age of 11 when she placed fourth in the event.
  • She eventually crossed three Oceans Seven channels.
  • In 1957, she made an attempt at crossing the 35 km North Channel between Northern Ireland and Scotland.
  • In 1960, she made an attempt at crossing the 35 km North Channel between Northern Ireland and Scotland.
  • She swam from Cap Gris Nez, France to South Foreland, England in 1950 on 8 August 1950 in 14 hours 20 minutes when she broke the then-current world record held by American Gertrude Ederle.
  • At 42 years old, she became the first woman to swim the English Channel from England to France in 1951 in 16 hours 22 minutes making her the first woman to swim the English Channel in both directions and setting a record for the England-France course.
  • Her three England-to-France swims each set a record for the fastest time in the year, including her 1954 crossing and her 14 hours 55 minute crossing in October 1955. On her last three successful swims she also attempted a two-way crossing, but gave up on the return leg on each occasion. She was the first woman to swim the English Channel in both directions.
  • She attempted the the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Lake Ontario in 1954 - and both attempts were unsuccessful. However, she attempts motivated Marilyn Bell to give it a try in 1956. Ironically Florence's coaches were both on Marilyn's support team: Archie McKinnon, later inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame for his outstanding contribution to Canadian Competitive Swimming, and Jack Todd was a well-known philanthropist and distinguished in the sailing community.
  • She crossed the 32.3 km Catalina Channel in 14 hours 45 minutes in 1952 after an initial failure after swimming for 15 hours.
  • She crossed the 14.4 km Strait of Gibraltar in 1954 in 5 hours 6 minutes at the age of 44. She was the 9th person in history to complete a Strait of Gibraltar crossing.

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