1902 Encyclopedia > Swimming and Diving > Swimming and Diving Records

Swimming and Diving
(Part 12)




Long Immersions. -- It is on record that on October 6, 1835, Samuel Brock, a Yarmouth fisherman, after being capsized, remained in the water for 7 1/2 hours before he was picked up.


Matthew Webb, swimming champion

Captain Matthew Webb
(From the memorial in his birthplace, Dawley, UK)


As a long distance swimmer in ocean and tidal waters no one has ever approached Matthew Webb (1848-83), of the British mercantile marine service. His first great feat was plunging (April 23, 1873) off the Cunard S.S. "Russia" into a heavy sea in the unsuccessful endeavour to save a young sailor who had fallen overboard, when he passed 37 minutes in the sea before the lifeboat relieved him. He received the silver medal from the Royal Humane Society of London, the Stanhope gold medal, and a £100 purse subscribed by the passengers of the "Russia." In June 1874 he swam from Dover to the north-east Varne buoy (9 1/2 sea miles). On July 3, 1875, he went from Blackwall Pier to Gravesend Town Pier on an ebb tide (18 1/2 miles) in 4 h. 52 m. 44 s., and on July 19, 1875, from Dover to Ramsgate (15 sea miles) in 8 3/4 h. An unsuccessful attempt to swim from Dover to Calais (17 1/2 sea miles) in the narrowest part of Dover Straits took place on August 12, 1875. He afterwards successfully accomplished the feat on August 24-25, 1875, after 21 h. 44 m. 55 s. immersion, the distance swum having been as nearly as possible 39 1/2 statute miles. A foolhardly attempt to swim the whirlpool rapids of Niagara cost Webb his life on July 24, 1883.

On Septermber 15, 1875, F. Cavil swam on the ebb of a strong spring tide from Putney to Blackwell (13 miles 3 furlongs) in 3 hr. 50 m. Miss Agnes Beckwith, of London, on the 17th July 1878, swam 20 miles in the Thames, without any assistance whatever, in 6 hours 25 minutes. Horace Davenport, of London, for years amateur champion of Great Britain, on 2d September 1884, swam from Southsea, Portsmouth, to Ryde, Isle of Wight, and back again in 5 h. 25 m.

Remarkable and Best Swimming Records. -- The majority of these have been achieved in England, but accurate statistics cannot be said to be plentiful. The following are some of the authentically recorded results.

Best Records in Open and Still Water: -- 100 yards 1m. 5 3/4 s. ; 220 yards, 2 m. 54 1/4 s.; 300 yards, 4 m. 57 s; 500 yards, 7 m. 58 s.; half-mile, 14 m. 17 1/2 s.; 1000 yards, 15 m. 51 1/2 s.; 1 mile, 28 m. 19 3/4 s.; 3 miles, 1 h. 53 m. 30s.

Bath Swimming. -- Of the innumerable enclosed swimming baths in Great Britain not many are exactly similar in measurement as regards length and breadth. The shorter the bath the faster becomes the time test of speed by the aid of each turn.

The Lambeth bath, where the greatest number of championship and other celebrated bath races in the kingdom have been decided, is 40 yards long. The following are the best Lambeth records :-- 40 yards, 23 1/4 s.; 80 yards, 52 1/5 s.; 100 yards, 1 m. 7 1/2 s.; 120 yards, 1 m. 28 1/5.; 160 yards, 2 m. 2.; 200 yards, 2 m.. 41 1/4 s.; 220 yards, 2 m. 59 1/4 s.; 400 yards, 5 m. 44 1/2 s.; 1/4 mile, 6 m. 21 1/2 s.; 500 yards, 7 m. 19 1/4 s.; 600 yards, 8 m. 46 1/2 s.; 800 yards, 11 m. 46 1/2 s.; 1/2 mile (21 turns), 13 m. 1/2 s.; 1000 yards, 14 m. 56 1/4 s.; 1200 yards, 18 m. 5 1/2 s.; 3/4 mile, 20 m. 3/4 s.; 1400 yards, 21 m. 17 3/4 s.; 1 mile (43 turns), 27 m. 3 1/2 s.

The records of other baths include: -- 500 yards, 6 m. 55 s. (Oldham Baths); 100 yards, 1 m. 4 1/5 s. (Blackburn Baths); 1 mile, 26 m. 21s. (Westminster Aquarium) (80 turns).

Longest Time under Water, in Glass Tank. -- 4 m. 29 1/2 s.

Longest Dives. -- 109 yards 2 feet 6 inches, and 113 yards 1 foot.

Longest Plunges. -- From a springboard 5 feet above the level surface of the water, 73 feet 1 inch; from a fixed board, 3 feet 6 inches above the water level, 76 feet 3 inches.






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