Major Jason Zirganos of Greece with Sam Rockett
Folkestone, Kent. Sam Rockett with Major Jason Zirganos after his record swim from Dungeness Point to Folkestone.
Major Jason Zirganos first swam the channel on the 18th Sept 1949. The Channel Swimming Association had then not re-formed after the Second World War. The swim is recorded in the book called “Across the Strait” printed by “The Dover Express”
He started from Cap-Gris-Nez and landed at Langden Stairs (between the eastern arm and St. Margarets Bay), his time was 18hrs 45mins. This is not recorded in the Channel Swimming Association Handbook.
In the 1950 Daily Mail International Race he was 7th overall, his time 16hrs 17mins. In the 1951 Daily Mail “Festival of Britain”International Cross Channel Race he came 13th overall with a time of 14hrs 10mins. Major Zirganos swam in the 1954 Billy Butlin Race and finished joint 4th overall (he was the third male), his time 16hrs 23mins. He swam in the 1955 Billy Butlin race, he was unsuccessful, in 12hrs 47mins.
Jason Zirganos competed in the last Billy Butlin race in 1949, he was unsuccessful, swam for 14hrs 11mins.
In 1951 he also swam Lake Windermere three times.
On the 27 Sept 1959 Jason Zirganos died during an attempt to swim the North Channel between Northern Ireland and Scotland.
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”
From the Sam Rockett collection. Black and White photograph.