Henry Sullivan

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Henry Sullivan, English Channel and Catalina Channel Swimmer
Henry Sullivan was inducted in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame as an Honour Swimmer in 1968. Sullivan was the third person to swim the English Channel on his seventh attempt in 1923 in 26 hours and 50 minutes which remains the second longest one-way channel swim on record. He is reported to have made six other English Channel attempts between 1913 and 1921, but they were all unsuccessful. In 1927 he also successfully crossed the Catalina Channel in 22 hours and 45 minutes and is a member of the 24-hour club.

He received The Alexander Channel Cup for his English Channel triumphant solo swim, the first by an American. The Cup was auctioned off by Skinner Auctioneers & Appraisers in 2011 for US$20,000.

Introduction by the Skinner Auctioneers & Appraisers

A celebrated endurance swimmer in the early years of the 20th century, Henry F. Sullivan was the first American to swim across the English Channel, and the third overall. During the course of this historic swim, Sullivan broke the world swimming endurance record, along with the world breast stroke record. Discussing a film chronicling Sullivan's Channel crossing, the London Daily Sketch on October 3, 1923, stated, "The film of Henry F. Sullivan's swim is the most interesting film we have ever seen, showing all details of this plucky American in "THE GREATEST FEAT OF ENDURANCE OF ALL TIME," swimming from England to France in 26 hours and 50 minutes, in a sea almost unfit for boats." It was Sullivan's seventh attempt. After the swim, Sullivan met the Prince of Wales, and toured Britain, then returned home where he triumphantly traveled the United States as a sporting hero for four years.

Sullivan did not confine his feats to Europe. His accomplishments include swimming from Nantasket Beach across the Massachusetts Bay to Provincetown, from Middle Ground Light, New York across the Long Island Sound to Bridgeport, Connecticut, and the Catalina Channel and Golden Gate in San Francisco, and also defending his numerous titles of aquatic achievements.

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