Marilyn Bell comes ashore, East Wear Bay, Folkestone

Marilyn Bell

Cross-Channel swimmer Marilyn Bell, Folkestone 31 July 1955

Gus Ryder can be seen in the water about to NOT help the swimmer ashore! This swim was completed in 1955, at that time the rule stated that when the swimmer was able to stand the swim was complete. In 1958 from the start of the season the rule was changed to state that the swimmer must clear the water in order to complete the swim.

Marilyn was a 17 year old 5ft 1inch school girl from Toronto, Canada. She held the “youngest channel swimmer” title for many years. Her swim, from Cap Gris Nez to East Wear Bay of 14 hours 36 minutes, was accompanied by her trainer Gus Ryder and pilot Jack (Pop) Burwill. The swim was reported in the Dover Express of 05 August 1955 (page 5).

At 16 years she was the first person to swim Lake Ontario. She was entered into Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame in 1967.

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