FROM WIKIPEDIA COMMONS
Captain Matthew Webb (19 January 1848 – 24 July 1883) was an English swimmer and stuntman. He is the first recorded person to swim the English Channel for sport without the use of artificial aids. In 1875, Webb swam from Dover to Calais in less than 22 hours. This made him a celebrity, and he performed many stunts in public. He died trying to swim the Whirlpool Rapids below Niagara Falls, a feat declared impossible.
English Channel swimming record
In 1873, Webb was serving as captain of the steamship Emerald when he read an account of the failed attempt by J. B. Johnson to swim the English Channel. He became inspired to try, and left his job to begin training, first at Lambeth Baths, then in the cold waters of the Thames, the English Channel and Hollingworth Lake. His early training was backed by Fred Beckwith who was the “Professor” at Lambeth Baths. Beckwith organised a spectacle by showing Webb swimming miles in the River Thames. Webb completed ‘nearly six miles’ (10 km), but the poor public interest meant that Beckwith lost money. As a result, Webb took another manager.
On 12 August 1875, Webb made his first cross-Channel swimming attempt, but strong winds and poor sea conditions forced him to abandon the swim. On 24 August, he began a second swim by diving in from the Admiralty Pier at Dover. Backed by three escort boats and smeared in porpoise oil, he set off into the ebb tide at a steady breaststroke. Despite stings from jellyfish and strong currents off Cap Gris Nez which prevented him from reaching the shore for five hours, finally, after approximately 21 hours and 40 minutes, he landed near Calais—the first successful cross-channel swim. His zig-zag course across the Channel was nearly 40 miles (66 km) long.
He was the first swimmer to complete a Channel swim without artificial aid; in June 1875, American Paul Boyton had swum across in 24 hours but was wearing an inflatable suit.
Question of the Day
Can I use peanut shells as mulch in my garden?
Peanut shells are great for mulching. They are a terrific source of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Add some cottonseed meal to ground or broken-up peanut shells to help them decompose and prevent them from compacting after a rain, then apply as you would any mulch.
Advice of the Day
To dream of a plow indicates a new project.
Home Hint of the Day
To remove a tick attached to a dog, first loosen the tick’s grip by placing a drop of vegetable or mineral oil on it. Then pull gently but steadily on the tick to remove it intact. Just pulling with tweezers often leaves the jaws or head behind.
Word of the Day
The erroneous or fanciful perception of a pattern or meaning in something that is actually ambiguous or random — like the Man in the Moon or animals in cloud formations or religious images in tortillas.
Puzzle of the Day
The Magnolia State.(Name the U.S. state!)
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