- Exhibition Label
- Born New York City
- Gertrude Ederle was the first woman to swim across the English Channel. During a time when female athletes were not taken seriously, Ederle proved critics wrong. In 1924 she competed at the Olympic games, where she won a gold medal in the 400-meter freestyle relay and bronze medals in the 100 and 400-meter freestyle races. By 1925, Ederle had set twenty-nine world records in women’s freestyle swimming, and she began training to cross the twenty-one-mile-wide English Channel. On August 6, 1926, in strong, choppy waters, she successfully swam across the channel, clocking a time of fourteen hours and thirty-one minutes for thirty-five miles. Despite swimming extra miles, Ederle beat the record time by two hours. When she paused occasionally to accept nourishment, concerned observers asked her if she wanted to come out. She responded, “What for?”
- Data Source
- National Portrait Gallery
- Underwood & Underwood, active 1880 - c. 1950
- Gertrude Caroline Ederle, 23 Oct 1906 - 30 Nov 2003
- Credit Line
- National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
- Gelatin silver print
- Image: 18.8 × 23.9 cm (7 3/8 × 9 7/16")
- Sheet: 20.3 × 25.6 cm (8 × 10 1/16")
- Mat: 35.6 × 45.7 cm (14 × 18")
This image is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Open Access page.
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