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Sunday, April 22, 2018

When Times Were Simpler In The English Channel



Courtesy of G. Trevor Smith and John K. Slater of British Long Distance Swimming Association.

The 1964 English Channel season was held during much simpler and less crowded times compared with contemporary times.

Back in the 1960's, there was one governing body (Channel Swimming Association) and swimmers did not have to worry about slots and lining up pilots and support teams years in advance.

The British Long Distance Swimming Association annual report [see here] produced by G. Trevor Smith and John K. Slater contains all kinds of interesting historical information including a summary of the 1964 Channel season that was prepared by I. Kellam-Smith, Honorary Secretary of the Channel Swimming Association:

"The season just ended can be assessed as one of considerable interest, and like the curate's egg - good in parts, for although weather has been idyllic for holiday makers, Channel swimmers have experienced a mixture of flat calms, heavy mists and rough seas.

Relays swims are arousing much interest, and if my post bag is any indication, there will be more in [the] future. There have been five Relay Swim attempts - three of which were successful; the City of London School for Girls, Denstone College Boys' Team and Spitalfields Market Mens' Team. The other two team efforts were unsuccessful owing to rough seas.

...is the record swim of Barry Watson - F/E in 9 hours 35 minutes - when he knocked an hour off the previous record held by Brojan Das since 1961 [shown above]. No less praiseworthy is the success of Gregory Schofield who did the E/F swim, and found the last five hours by far the hardest. His time 15 hours 35 minutes.

Other Britishers who made valiant attempts where A. Ayers, M. Meller and W. Pickering, and Margaret Lindsay, but bad sea conditions forced them all to retire, honourably but unbowed. E.H. Temme's successful E/F swim, August, 1934 in a time of 15 hours 54 minutes (which made him the first person to have swum the Channel in both directions), long overdue for ratification, has now been included in the C.S.A.'s official Record Book. Of our foreign visitor John Starrett, U.S.A. was the first handicapped person - a Spastic, with but little use in his legs - made a successful crossing F/E in 12 hours 45 minutes, and a few days later, Robert Cossette, a French Canadian, and a polio victim also swim F/E in 12 hours 5 minutes, finishing in a rough sea...

succeeded in a F/E effort, but was defeated in an attempt in the opposite direction by bad weather. Leonore Modell, U.S.A., now is the youngest girl ever to succeed, in a time of 15 hours 27 minutes. Her age, 14 years 3 months. Joe Nagie, also of U.S.A. completed a F/E swim in 17 hours 3 minutes.

Ted Erikson, U.S.A. and Greta Andersen, U.S.A., both made attempts at a double non-stop crossing. Both succeeded in the first leg, England to France; Erikson in 12 hours 35 minutes and G. Andersen in 13 hours 40 minutes. On the second leg, Erikson had to retire because of the intense cold after swimming 23 hours; while G. Andersen swam for a total time of 12 minutes longer, and had to retire on account of bad weather conditions. She now holds the Womens' Record for each direction, having now beaten F. Chadwick's time of 13 hours 55 minutes by 15 minutes; moreover she is the first woman to hold both records simultaneously.

The Annual Dinner. 1965 will take place on May 15th in Boyer Town Hall and the annual General Meeting will follow the next morning. We look forward to seeing old friends and many new ones at dinner time
."

Julian Critchlow's database of successful English Channel swimmers of the 1964 season:
1. Greta Andersen 13 hours 40 minutes E-F
2. Joe Nagi 17 hours 3 minutes F-E
3. Leonore Modell 15 hours 27 minutes F-E
4. Ted Erikson 12 hours 35 minutes E-F
5. Gregory Schofield 15 hours 35 minutes E-F
6. Barry Watson 9 hours 35 minutes F-E
7. John Starrett 12 hours 45 minutes F-E
8. Raymond Rouselle 15 hours 13 minutes F-E
9. Robert Cossette 12 hours 5 minutes F-E

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