Cannon, Miss Lillian

1903 – 1972 Baltimore, Maryland. In March 1929 she married Edwin Day in Washington D.C. and would occassionally swim thereafter as Mrs. Edwin M. Day as well as Lillian Cannon

Lily Cannon had two unsuccessful attempts on 17th and 23 Aug 1926. She was trained by Burgess along with Ederle and the American press (both were sponsored by different newspapers) promoted the pair as friendly but intense rivals to be the first woman to succeed during the summer of 1926. Two more American women joined them in France, Clarabelle Barrett and Mille Corson, adding to the publicity frenzy. Ederle succeeded on August 6th and Corson on August 28th

Cannon’s gimmick was to swim with two large dogs. This, naturally, caused an outcry among Britain’s dog-lovers, and elicited a stern letter from the secretary of the Canine Defence League who warned that no dog could swim the Channel without ‘serious injury to its health’. Note, there was no such outcry about Cannon’s health.

In the event, the dogs swam a few yards then scampered from the icy water, shivering and whimpering, and couldn’t be coaxed back.

On her fist swim, Cannon had swum 4 miles from Calais when a terrible storm hit the Channel. The surging waves smashed boats, on land trees were uprooted, roads were flooded and cows killed by lightning.

Poor exhausted Cannon had to be dragged from the churning water by the seasick crew of the supporting tug.

Swims by Cannon, Miss Lillian

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