Greta Marie Andersen USA, Long Beach California
Greta Marie Anderson Long Beach, California
In 1948 Greta Anderson became the 100 metres Freestyle Olympic Champion, and gained a silver medal in the 400 metre relay. In 1948 she set a new 100 metre World Freestyle record; Greta set a swimming record which was to stand from 1949 -1956 for 10.5 miles in 4 hours 25 minutes 20 seconds. She was winner of the Ladies World Professional Championship at Atlantic City in 1956, the distance was 25 miles, and Greta completed the swim in 10 hours 17 minutes.
She is the holder of forty trophies, and 150 gold and silver medals. In 1956 29 year old Greta Anderson entered the Billy Butlin Race. There were 28 competitors Greta finished after 2 hours and 5 mins. Sir Billy Butlin had banned Egyptians from the race in order to avoid any incidents. The Egyptian swimmers were sponsored by their Government, and several members of the party were in the Egyptian Army. Among those banned was Lieut. Col. Abdul Latif Heif, winner of the 1955 race.
On August 21st. 1957 there was a swim list of 29 swimmers. Twenty of the swimmers started, some of the boats were unable to reach the beach, and the boat for Florence Burdette capsized before the start of the race. Of the twenty starters only two completed the swim. Greta Anderson was the first swimmer home with a time of 13hrs. 53mins. The British swimmer Kenneth Wray of Weymouth was the only other person to complete the swim with a time of 16 hours 25 minutes.
In 1958 there were 38 entrants, it appears that 23 started, 17 were unsuccessful, 5 swimmers completed according to the rules. Halden Isman of Turkey crossed successfuly but his landing was ruled illegal. He climbed onto the jetty, instead of landing on the beach. Greta Marie Anderson was the first person home in a time of 11hours 01min. Landing at the South Forland.
The 1959 Billy Butlin race was to be the last race swim. The list of competitors reached 47swimmers. There were swimmers left on the beach; 23 swimmers started the race,9 swimmers were successful, Greta Anderson was 7th with a time of 15 hours 25 minutes, she was the first lady to finish in the race. Greta was successful in three of her four swims attempts in the Billy Butlin swims.
From the Sam Rockett collection. A Black and White photograph.