Sam Rockett with 1951 Daily Mail swimmers Duarte, Fenton and Abertondo at Finsbury
Sam Rockett, the 1951 Daily Race Supervisor on the poolside talking to three of the competitors for The Daily Mail Race. They are from the nearest to Sam Rockett; Enriqueta Duarte of Argentina, Eileen Fenton of Great Britain and Antonio Abertondo of Argentina, at testing/qualifying at Finsbury Borough Swimming Pool
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”
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.
Eileen Fenton was the first woman home in the 1950 Daily Mail Swim in a time of 15hrs 31mins. In the 1951 Daily Mail swim, she retired after swimming for 12hrs 45mins. She had previously swam Morecambe Bay in 3hrs 44.5 minutes. Eileen was a founder member of the British Long Distance Swimming Association
Black and white photograph from the Sam Rockett collection.