Sam Rockett and Willy Van Rijsel, Folkestone

Sam Rockett and (Willie) Willy Van Rijsel

Folkestone Open Air Pool. Folkestone, Kent. Sam Rockett and (Willie) Willy Van Rysel, take the first plunge of the season. Signed photograph of swimmer Willy Van Rysel, a member of the Dutch team who took part in the Daily Mail Cross Channel Race, 22 August 1950.

Willi Van Rijsel swam in the 1950 Daily Mail Race, 4hrs 10mins, and covered 7 1/2miles before retiring from the swim; the pilot boat was Rose Marie II. Willi was 33 years old at the time of the swim.

She made two previous attempts in 1949; the first on the 29th of July when she swam for 14hrs 15mins. Started at Cap-Gris-Nez and finished 2 miles off shore between Dover and St. Margarets – she was sick and cold. Her other swim she again failed, after starting at Cap-Gris-Nez and swimming for 16hrs 52mins – she was sick several times and unable to take much food and was within 2 miles of Dover when she gave up. Her pilot was John”Pop” Burwell and the boat the ”June Rose”. Her trainer was Ted Temme whom she later married.

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.

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