Sam Rockett, Willy Van-Rijsel and Abertondo, Folkestone Pool

Sam Rockett

Sam Rockett, Great Britain, Willy Van-Rijsel, Holland. and Antonio Abertondo, Argentina. Folkestone International Open Air Pool.  Competitors for the 1950 Daily Mail International Race.

Willy Van Rysel, a member of the Dutch team, took part in the Daily Mail Cross Channel Race, 22 August 1950. Sadly she failed in her attempt to cross the Channel. Her time was 4 hrs 10 mins. She made two unsuccessful attempts in 1949 – her times were 14 hrs 15 mins. and 16 hrs 52 mins.

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.

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