From: United States: New York
Fields: Sports Key Words/Phrases: swimming, swimmer
Ederle, Gertrude Caroline (1906- ), American swimmer, the first woman to swim across the English Channel. Born in New York City, Ederle learned to swim as a young child and began competing as a teenager. Between 1921 and 1925 she broke many United States and world swimming records. At the 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris, Ederle won a gold medal in the 400-m (437-yd) freestyle relay and bronze medals in the 100-m (109-yd) and 400-m freestyle races. When Ederle swam across the English Channel in 1926, she set a new time record for the distance, swimming the 56 km (35 m) from Cape Gris-Nez, France, to Dover, England, in 14 hours 31 minutes. (The previous record had been 16 hours 23 minutes.) The feat propelled Ederle to stardom in the United States. She later became a professional swimmer and a swimming instructor.