The Great Swim by Gavin Mortimer

IronMikeIronMike Northern VirginiaCharter Member
edited April 2012 in General Discussion
Just finished The Great Swim by Gavin Mortimer yesterday. Very good book. Great look inside the Channel Fever of the '20s. I had no idea how competitive it was, with newspapers sponsoring particular athletes, jabs and jibes going back in forth in the swimmers' articles (many had to write articles for the newspapers that sponsored them). And the money.

Of course, that's understandable. At first I thought what a bargain swimming the EC must be these days, as the cost today seemed about the same as in the 1920's. But then I realized that the swimmers and their support crew would stay in England or France all summer.

I was most impressed with Mille Gade, Clarabelle Barrett and, of course, Gertrude Ederle. Not all the stories are happy, but they will hold your interest. I don't want to give anything away. But, like the book I read about Matthew Webb (The Crossing), how the crossing affected the rest of their lives is even more interesting than the run-up to their time in the EC.

We're all just carbon, water, starlight, oxygen and dreams


  • thanks for the book recommendation. i loved the book about Gertrude Ederle. It's too bad more people don't know what a star she was. Some sports show i randomly caught had actual footage of her swimming. I find the EC swimming history very interesting. Not sure why? maybe because it's a feat that not many people have accomplished when you look at it's history. when I was reading all the books i could find about EC swimming,
    my husband panicked because he was afraid i might want to give it a shot. I assured him, he was safe.
  • rosemarymintrosemarymint Charleston, SCCharter Member
    I loved this book like you can't believe, because it combined my two biggest passions: marathon swimming and journalism history! Highly recommend it!
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