Gertrude Ederle was a woman who’s name I did not at all recognise at first glance, when actually her story paid a significant role in history. She rose to fame during 1924, when she competed in the olympics. However this was not her most controversial action. In 1926 she became the first woman to swim across the english channel, despite still living in a very sexist and discriminatory community.
Gertrude had four siblings and was the daughter of german immigrants. Her record-breaking achievement brought her a period of fame and acclaim. From a young age she developed a love for swimming and learnt at local public pool at the New Jersey beach where her family spent their summers.
Despite her family’s image and the fact that she was female, she still managed to positively influence young women around her. Even in her later life Gertrude continued to support young athletes. When she was older, she taught swimming at a school for people with hearing impairments.
Gertrude unfortunately died at the age of 98 in 2003, but her story was one to be heard. Her message was captivating and there was one quote in particular that caught my attention, “I just knew if it could be done, It had to be done, and I did it.”
See you next time,