Gertrude Ederle

Gertrude Ederle (1905-2003)

American Swimmer and first woman to successfully swim the English Channel.

Quote: “People said women couldn’t swim the Channel but I proved they could!”



  • Gertrude Ederle was born October 23, 1905 in New York, New York.
  • Gertrude learned to swim at a young age and began competing as a teenager.
  • At the 1924 Paris Olympics, Ederle won gold in the 400 meter freestyle relay and bronze in the 100 meter and 400 meter freestyle race.
  • Ederle attempted to first swim the English Channel in 1925 but due to the roughness of the sea she didn’t succeed.
  • Not letting that stop her, Ederle tried again in 1926 and succeeded, becoming the first woman to swim the English Channel. She broke the previous time record by nearly two hours at 14 hours and 31 minutes.
  • After swimming the English Channel, her hearing was permanently impaired. Later Gertrude became a swimming instructor for deaf children.
  • In 1965 was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame and in 1980, inducted into the Women’s Sports Hall of Fame.

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