Charlotte Epstein

From Openwaterpedia

Charlotte "Eppie" Epstein (born in 1994 in New York City and died in 1938) was an American swimming coach. She coached the USA Women's Olympic Swimming Team in 1920, 1924 and 1928. She founded the Women's Swimming Association and was known as "Mother of Women's Swimming in America".


  • In 1917, she worked as a stenographer until she founded the Women's Swimming Association (WSA) with the help of a few other friends. The WSA became famous for promoting the health benefits of swimming as exercise. This was at a time when women were not viewed as athletic, and exercise was not considered beneficial to female health.
  • She started the National Women's Life Saving League to help create a swimming culture for women and girls.
  • Through her coaching, swimmers under her management, known as "Eppie's Swimmers," won 30 national championships, while setting 52 world records.
  • She battled for women’s suffrage, staging “suffrage swim races” with her teammates, as well as battling for emancipation in women’s sports campaigning for bathing suit reform, distance swims, and other competitive events.
  • She served as the team leader for Olympian Gertrude Ederle who learned to swim at the Women’s Swimming Association. In 1926 Ederle became the first woman to swim the English Channel beating the men’s time by over 2 hours.
  • She served as manager of the U.S. Women's Olympic Swimming Team for the 1920, 1924, and 1928 Olympic Games.
  • She became well known as a spokesperson for female athletes.
  • She boycotted 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin to protest Nazi policies.


  • 1974, inducted to the International Swimming Hall of Fame
  • 1982, inducted to the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, in Israel
  • 1994, first woman inducted into the B'nai B'rith Klutznick National Jewish Museum, Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in Washington, D.C.

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