Sam Rockett, Willy Van-Rysel, Antonio Abertondo on Folkestone beach
Rockett (left), Abertondo (right) and (Willie) Willy-Van-Rijsel, who attempted the Channel three times. Folkestone beach
On the 29th of July 1949 Van Rijsel swam for 14hrs 15mins and finished 2 miles from Dover. She attempted a second swim finishing at 1.30am on the 27th of August, again two miles short from Dover after swimming for 16hrs 52mins. Finally, she attempted her third swim in The Daily Mail Race of 1950 and again she was unsuccesful, swimming for 4hrs 10mins.
Abertondo was the first person to complete a two-way non-stop swim of the English Channel, in 1961. His time for the swim was 43 hours 10 minutes. Abertondo was sponsored by the Argentine Government.
Abertondo made one unsuccessful attempt – on Aug 7th 1950 (time 25 hours), giving up one mile from England.
His other successes were; the Aug 22 1950 and Aug 16 1951 Daily Mail races. He was placed 8th and 14th; and the Aug 21 1954 Billy Butlin race. He was placed sixth.
In 1950 he swam 168 miles down the river Plate in 61 hrs. He once swam 291 miles down the Mississippi River in 3 days, 9 hours.
Sam Rockett swam in the 1950 Daily Mail race and was the fourth man to finish.
He was Supervisor for the 1951 Daily Mail Race, an International race held in the “Festival of Britain year” and was also supervisor for the Billy Butlin races from 1953 to 1959, and the Sir Billy Butlin long distance walk from John O Groats to Lands End.
He played County Water Polo for a number of Counties. He was Author of the book “its Cold in the Channel”
Black and White photograph. From the Sam Rockett collection.