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Brenda Fisher

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Brenda Fisher, BEM is an inductee (Honor Swimmer) in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame, Class of 2012
Lucy Wood's Blonde In Deep Water about English Channel swimmer Brenda Fischer
Photo from the Sam Rockett collection shows the swimmers of the 1956 Butlin's International Cross-Channel Swimming Race including 1 Jack McClelland (32 from Belfast), 2 Jack Cloutier (24) Canada, 3 Dogan Sahin (25 from Turkey), 4 Ronald Tarr (19 from London), 5 Clarence Conza (33 from New Zealand), 6 Ian Tirrell (33 from South Africa), 7 Erik Martin (53 from Sweden), 8 Jenny James (28 from Wales), 9 Maria Meesters (17 from Holland), 10 Baptista Pereira (35 from Portugal), 11 Margaret Sweeney (26 from New Zealand), 12 Greta Anderson (29 from Denmark), 13 Elizabeth Wild (22 from New Zealand), 14 Florence Burdett (27 from America), 15 Diana Cleverley (22 from New Zealand), 16 Brenda Fisher (28 from Grimsby), 17 Thomas Park (32 from California), 18 Harold Bracewell (47 from Blackpool), 19 Edward (Ned) Barnie (59 from Scotland), 20 Arthur Rizzo (28 from Malta), 21 Mohammed El Soussi (28 from Syria), 22 Fredrick Oldman (40 from Huddersfield). 23 Mihir Zen (27 from India), 24 Alfredos Camarero (25 from Argentina). Toufic Bleik (25 from Lebanon), Kurt Feilen (30 from Germany), John Healey (29 from Ireland), and Edna Borenstein (19 from Israel) are not included in the photo

Brenda Fisher, BEM (born 9 June 1927 - 2 August 2022 at the age of 95) was a British open water swimmer from Scartho, North East Lincolnshire. She is the daughter of a Grimsby trawler skipper and learned to swim at the age of 9. She became a swimming coach after retiring.

Open Water Swimming Highlights[edit]

  • In 1956, she won the 47 km River Nile Swim in Egypt, then at the fastest time.
  • In September 1956, she competed in the 51 km Lake Ontario crossing from Niagara, USA to Toronto, Canada finishing in 18 hours 50 minutes, 2 hours 6 minutes faster than the previous record set by Marilyn Bell. At that point, she was the third person in history to complete the swim.
  • In 1957, she attempted to cross Lake Ontario, but retired after 12 hours 43 minutes due to a thunderstorm which threatened to sink her escort boats.
  • After retiring, she became a swimming teacher in Grimsby.
  • In 2015, her biography was published, Blonde In Deep Water written by Lucy Wood.
  • In June 2018, she appeared on Antiques Roadshow with her collection of swimming memorabilia.
  • She received in 2018 the British Empire Medal (BEM), as part of the Queen's New Year Honours list, for her achievements in the sport of swimming.
  • A blue plaque in her honor was erected in Grimsby in 2017.
  • She was inducted in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame as an Honor Swimmer in the Class of 2023.
  • She was the first female finisher at the Billy Butlin Cross Channel International Swim across the English Channel in August 1951 from France to England, placing fifth overall in 12 hours 42 minutes and breaking the previous women's record of Florence Chadwick in 1950 of 13 hours 20 minutes as a 23-year-old who undertook the crossing in the memory of her brother Buster, an RAF pilot who had been shot down and killed in Germany during the Second World War. A crowd of 60,000 people turned out to welcome her back upon her return to Grimsby.
  • She finished 3rd overall and was the first women in the 1954 Billy Butlin Cross Channel International Swim in 14 hours 36 minutes across the English Channel.
  • She competed in the 36 km Maratona del Golfo Capri-Napoli in Italy in 1959.
  • In 2016, she received the Freedom of the Borough Honor.

Professional Career[edit]

  • She appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show and became a pin-up girl for 7 Up lemonade
  • She became a swimming coach after her retirement and also worked for the Ross Group
  • Together with Stanley Baker, she was one of the judges in the 1954 Prestatyn "Easy To Love" Bathing Beauty Contest

1951 Daily Mail Race[edit]

Blonde In Deep Water[edit]

Blonde In Deep Water is a biography of Fisher that was written by Lucy Wood and published in 2015. When wartime RAF pilot Buster was shot down and killed in Germany, Jessie Fisher, the first woman to swim River Humber, and Brenda Fisher vowed to swim the English Channel in his memory.

Brenda Fisher: One of our own[edit]


A documentary film, directed by Kurt Mussell called Brenda Fisher: One of our own was released in 2019.

External links[edit]