Channel swimmers at Dover - Helmi, Ederle, Barrett and Timson 1926

Glass negative picture of a group of swimmers Ishak Helmi, Gertrude Ederle, Clara Barrett and Louis Timson

Ishak Helmi was the first Egyptian to swim the English Channel. He made one successful swim, on the 31 Aug 1928, time 23 hrs 40 mins. It was the slowest France – England swim on record until 1949 when Phillip Mickman’s time was 23hrs 48mins.

He was unsuccessful on five attempts; 5th.Sept 1924, F/E 8hrs 30mins. 14 Sept 1925, F/E 14hrs 05. 8 Aug 1926, F/E 10hrs 00mins. 27 Aug 1926, F/E 3hrs. 7 Aug 1927, F/E  8hrs 15mins. 27 Aug 1929, E/F 7hrs 17mins.

Helmi swam 18hrs in the Seine.

Gertrude was the first woman to swim the English Channel, on the 6th of August 1926 in a new record time of 14hrs 39mins. She was the first person to swim front crawl.

She had one unsuccessful swim in 1925 on August 18th. She swam for 8 hours 50mins. She was trained by Jabez Wolffe and swam Breast stroke on her first swim.

On her successful swim she wore a two piece costume and used an eight leg beat crawl.

She held world records for 300yds, 500yds, 880yds, 400m, 440m, and 500m. She played herself in the film Swim girl Swim.


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