Chadwick, Florence May

Chadwick, Florence May, 1918–95, American distance swimmer, b. San Diego, Calif. She began swimming at the age of six, and four years later she swam the San Diego Bay Channel, the first child to do so. On Aug. 8, 1950, she broke Gertrude Ederle's 24-year record for English Channel swims by women. Florence Chadwick covered the 20 mi (32 km) from France to England in 13 hr 20 min. She also swam (Sept., 1951) from England to France, becoming the first woman to swim the channel in both directions. In 1952 she became the first woman to swim the 21-mi (34-km) Catalina Channel off Long Beach, Calif., breaking speed records for any swimmer (13 hr 47 min). She swam the Bosporus, the Dardanelles, and the Strait of Gibraltar in 1953.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2024, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Sports: Biographies