Did you know...that Gertrude Ederle got her feet wet in Lower Manhattan waters before becoming the first woman to swim across the English Channel?
Before crossing the English Channel in world-record time, 16-year-old Gertrude Caroline Ederle was the first woman to swim the 17 miles from New York's Battery to Sandy Hook, N.J. The native New Yorker accomplished the feat in seven hours and 11 minutes, besting the existing men's record in the process. Three years later, on August 6, 1926, Ederle shattered records again when she plunged into the cold water at Cap Gris-Nez France and began swimming the 35 miles toward Britain. After a 14-hour, 39-minute struggle, she set foot on the English shoreline as the sixth person -- and first woman -- to have swum across the Channel.
Over the course of her career, Ederle would set 29 U.S. and world records and win three Olympic medals. Her hearing permanently damaged in the historic swim across the English Channel, Ederle became upon her retirement a swimming instructor for deaf children. She was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1965 and the Women's Sports Hall of Fame in 1980.