Myrtle Huddleston

From Openwaterpedia

Myrtle Huddleston was an American open water swimmer who learned how to swim late in life and then continued on to a remarkable marathon swimming career.


Huddleston learned how to swim at the age of 30 in 1926.



Huddleston, a member of the 24-hour club, won an ocean swimming championship at Del Ray Beach, Florida in 1928 when she swam for 31 hours 18 minutes. She also swam non-stop for 50 hours 10 minutes on 21 May 1928 in a Chicago pool, breaking the world record by 4 hours 10 minutes of Otto Kemmerich of Germany. Her swim was observed by 12 officials for which she won US$5,000.


She attempted an English Channel swim that lasted 21 hours in 1929. Video can be seen here at British Pathé.


  • At the age of 34, she swam 22 hours 53 minutes, winning US$700 on 24 August 1931 for becoming the first person to swim across the width of Lake Tahoe, a distance of 10.48 miles (16.9 km) from Deadman's Point in Nevada to Tahoe City.
  • She became the world’s champion female endurance swimmer by 1931 when her marathon swim in a Coney Island pool lasted 60 hours 2 minutes. She later set the women’s world endurance record by staying afloat for 87 hours 48 minutes on 21 April 1931.


She is the namesake of a Myrtle Huddleston Honorary Swim scheduled for 17 August 2013, organized by Karen Rogers.

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