Frank Perks of Birmingham made 5 unsuccessful swims; 1923 swam for 11 hrs. 1924 swam for 14hrs 15mins. 1926 9hrs 30mins and 14hrs 28mins. 1928 10hrs 05mins.
Lowell Sun – August 4, 1927
THE CHANNEL SWIMMERS Ishak Helmy and Nearly All the Other Old Timers on Hand. CAP GRIS. NEZ. France, Aug. 4. They’re at it again over here. Trailing thermometers in the water, checking tides, testing currents and feeling the air as only a channel cookoo can do. And on the sands the talk is the same as it has been for the last dozen seasons – channel swimming. Although Gertrude Ederle was supposed to have kicked must of the romance out of the sport, the song of the channel siren still is heard by long distance swimmers of all descriptions. Representatives of England and Egypt already are on the job, and swimmers of France, Germany, Belgium and Denmark are expected as soon as the weather clears. Ishak Helmy, the Egyptian, is back for his third year. He says he is in perfect condition, down to 252 pounds in weight, and completely cured of the stomach trouble which undermined his strength last year and forced him abandon his two attempts. He is determined to swim the channel for the sake of King Fuad, who is interested in Helmy and has expressed a wish for him to succeed in order to stir up interest in athletics in Egypt. Frank Perks, the Birmingham mechanic and another veteran seasoned in channel failures, again is in training at Dover. Otherwise the chief aspirants this year are women. Tough as the channel is, they are out to beat the Ederle record of 14 hours and a half. The News of the World offer of $5000 for the British woman who will break this record has stimulated great interest among English girl swimmers. One of the foremost is a newcomer, Miss Hilda Harding of Brighton, who is training here. She is eighteen and built very much like Gertrude Ederle, though shorter – and about twenty pounds lighter. Others already in the race are Miss Hudson, a London diver. Miss Connie Jeans of Nottingham, Mrs. Jack Weidman, wife of the veteran trainer who died last year, Miss Jane Darwin, called the “mystery woman” because she tries to conceal her real name and activities, Dr. Nora MacClellan and Miss Mercedes Gleitze. So far these have been doing their training in England. The best woman swimmer on the job is Mrs. Mlllie Corson. the American who last year succeeded after Miss Ederle and in slightly longer time. She swam from Griz Nez to Dover and now wants to swim from the English to the French coast, which is a harder job owing to the peculiar twists of the tide. Edith Jensen of Denmark is coming to Gris Nez as soon as the weather is favorable for swimming. The weather however, has been most discouraging so far. The water in the channel is much colder than usual at this time of year, and this section of France has had practically no summer yet. Last year Miss Ederle swam across on August 6, but it will probably be much later before any serious attempts can be made this year. Helmy and Miss Harding are training under Jabez Wolfe.
Others who are gathered in their training camps, awaiting suitable opportunities to start across the English Channel are Mrs. Ivy Gill, Miss Millie Hudson, Frank Perks, the Birmingham crack, and J. Fellows, of Rotherham. Numerous others, including foreigners, are expected to arrive on either side of the Channel later in the season.
The Daily Banner,Greencastle, Putnam County, 19 June 1928