Gertrude Ederle swims to history

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Nicknamed “Queen of the Waves,” Gertude Ederle was honored with a New York parade that drew a reported 2 million people after her record-breaking swim.

On this day in 1926, Gertrude Ederle spent 14 hours and 31 minutes making history. The 20-year-old from New York, who had won a gold and two bronze medals for the United States at the 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris, became the first woman to swim across the English Channel. Not only that, she beat the times of the five men who had accomplished the feat before her by nearly two hours despite straying off-course in the rough water and turning the 21-mile swim into a 35-mile adventure. Ederle, who was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1965, died at the age of 98 in 2003. In Manhattan, The Gertrude Ederle Recreation Center, which includes an indoor pool, bears her name.