A seven-year old second grader swam the length of the Golden Gate Bridge, which is just over one mile. The water is very cold so she wore a wetsuit, and her mother and one other adult swam with her. (She had a tune-up for the long swim at the Tiburon Mile which she completed in 30 minutes.) A support boat accompanied the swimmers and her father kayaked next to them. Both of her brothers completed similar swims when they were eight. Ella the second grader wasn’t just swimming for the accomplishment – she was doing it to raise money for her preschool teacher who has breast cancer, and experienced the loss of her fiance.
The first recorded successful Golden Gate swim was in 1896 by Arthur Cavill. The first woman to do the swim was Hazel Lagenour who completed it in August of 1911. Her story was printed in newspapers around the world. After the event, she formed a vaudeville show and that was also successful, though it was censored in Boston because it was said she did the tango underwater. When the a group of women in 1911 first attempted the swim there were 5,000 fans on both sides of the bay to cheer them. At the time, swimming the Golden Gate was considered quite remarkable.
Earlier this year, a woman over sixty-years old attempted to swim from Cuba to Florida. She had to quit, however, due to being stung repeatedly by Portuguese man o’ war invertebrates. One day Ella might be able to do the 103-mile swim though, if she continues at her current pace of development.
Image Credit: Daniel Schwen