Lynne Cox

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Swims Around The World by Lynne Cox
Lynne Cox
Grayson by Lynne Cox
South with the Sun
Lynne Cox (born 1957) is an American extreme open water swimmer, motivational speaker and writer. She was inducted in both the International Swimming Hall of Fame and the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame as an Honour Swimmer. The asteroid 37588 Lynnecox was named in her honor (Asteroid, Asteriod).


Swimming Career

In 1971, Cox (age 14), Andy Taylor (age 12), Dennis Sullivan (age 14) and Stacy Fresonke (age 14) were the first group of teenagers to complete the crossing of the Santa Catalina Island Channel in California. They finished in 12 hours 34 minutes.

Cox also twice held the record for the fastest crossing (men and women) of the English Channel: in 1972 in a time of 9 hours 57 minutes and in 1973 in a time of 9 hours 36 minutes.

In 1974, she broke the men’s and women’s records across the Catalina Channel in 8 hours 48 minutes.

In 1975, Cox became the first woman to swim the 10°C (50°F), 16 km (10-mile) Cook Strait in New Zealand in 12 hours 2 minutes.

In 1976, she broke the men's and women's record for swimming the Oresund between Denmark and Sweden in 5 hours 9 minutes. She also broke the men's and women's record for swimming across the Kattegut between Norway to Sweden in a time of 6 hours 16 minutes. She became the first person to swim across the 42°F waters of the Strait of Magellan in Chile in 1 hour 2 minutes, and the first to swim around the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa.

In 1977, she became the first person to swim between three of the Aleutian Islands and the first person to swim 12.8 km (8 miles) around the Cape of Good Hope in a time of 3 hours and 3 minutes.

In 1980, she swam around Joga-shima Island in Japan.

In 1983, she swam across the three Lakes of New Zealand’s Southern Alps.

In 1984, she swam across 12 major waterways across the U.S.

In 1985, she swam ‘Around the World in 80 Days’ by swimming 12 extremely challenging waterways some that had never been attempted including the Five Lakes of Mount Fuji in Japan.

Cox is perhaps best known for swimming the Bering Strait in 1987, from the island of Little Diomede in Alaska to Big Diomede, then part of the Soviet Union, in 2 hours 6 minutes where the water temperature averaged around 4°C (40°F). In 1987 she saw it as a way to open the U.S.-Soviet border for the first time in 48 years.

In 1988, she became the first person to swim 7 miles across Lake Baikal in 4 hours 19 minutes.

In 1990, she completed an unprecedented crossing of the Beagle Channel between Argentina and Chile. In 1990, she swam across the Spree River between the newly united German Republics.

In 1992, Cox became the first person to swim across Lake Titicaca from Bolivia to Peru.

In 1992, Cox swam across Lake Titicaca from Bolivia to Peru. Swimming at 3,812 meters (12,507 feet), she swam 10 miles from the resort village of Copacabana in Bolivia to the village of Chimbo in Peru, in 3 hours 48 minutes in 13-14°C (56-58°F) water.

In 1994, she swam through the Gulf of Aqaba from Egypt to Israel and from Israel to Jordan.

In 2002, she swam more than a mile (1.6 km)from a ship in Neko Harbor in the 31°F waters of Antarctica. Cox was in the water for 25 minutes, swimming 1.06 miles (1.7 km).

In August 2006 she swam across the Ohio River in Cincinnati from the Serpentine Wall to Newport, Kentucky to bring attention to plans to decrease the water quality standards for the Ohio River.


Her book about the experience of swimming in Antarctica was described in Swimming to Antarctica published in 2004. Her second book, Grayson, details her encounter with a lost baby gray whale during an early morning workout off the coast of California. It was published in 2006. The third book South with the Sun was published in 2011 and is about Roald Amundsen, the polar explorer who was the first to reach the South Pole (in 1911). The book honors the 100th anniversary of his triumph.


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