Tom Blower (1914–1955) was a British man who on 27–28 July 1947 became the first to successfully swim the North Channel between Ireland and Scotland, completing the feat in 15 hours and 26 minutes. In spite of multiple attempts by others, the North Channel would not be successfully crossed by a swimmer again until 12 September 1970, when it was accomplished by Kevin Murphy. Blower also swam the English Channel several times, with a personal best speed of 13 hours and 29 minutes in 1937.
Born in Hyson Green, Nottingham, in 1914, Blower was a resident of Nottingham until shortly before his death of a heart attack in 1955, when he resided in Dartmouth. He was a sales rep at Players Cigarettes in Nottingham and moved to Dartmouth as part of his work. A long distance endurance swimmer, Blower practiced in the River Trent near The Meadows. The son of a miner, Blower was a decorated World War II hero who gained national celebrity for his swimming. He served with the Royal Navy in the Second World War and rescued a drowning man for which he won a Royal Humane Society medal – he dived into the Atlantic in January to try to save the survivor of a dive-bombing attack.
Tom Blower swam the English Channel August 4th 1937 from France to England in a time of 13hrs 31mins.
He swam it a second time 29th August 1948 in a new record time of 15hrs 31mins. He started his swim from the Western Beach, Dover, and finished at Cap-Gris- Nez. ( Ratified Independent)
11 Sept 1951 he once again swam from England to France from St. Margarets Bay to Calais, in a time of 18 hrs 42 mins. This made him the first person to swim England to France twice. They were both part of a two-way attempt. On his 1951 swim he swam for 3 hours on the return.
He was winner of the Morecambe Cross Bay Swim from 1935 to 1938. He became the first person to swim from Ireland to Scotland, in 15hrs 26mins in 1947. It was on his second attempt.
In 1948 he swam Dover to Ramsgate, in a new record time of 4hrs 36mins, beating the old record by 1 hour 38mins. He was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1964.