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Celebration of woman who was first to swim The Wash

PUBLISHED: 10:19 16 June 2019 | UPDATED: 10:19 16 June 2019

Mercedes Gleitze who was the first person to swim The Wash from Lincolnshire to Norfolk. Picture: Crown Studios

Mercedes Gleitze who was the first person to swim The Wash from Lincolnshire to Norfolk. Picture: Crown Studios

Crown Studios

The aquatic exploits Mercedes Gleitze who holds a unique place in swimming history is being celebrated in a special event in Norfolk.

This week marks the 90th anniversary of the open swimming pioneer becoming the first person to swim across The Wash from Lincolnshire to Norfolk.

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On June 20, 1929 she swam from Benington in Lincolnshire to Heacham in Norfolk in just under 13 hours and 17 minutes. The event is being marked today with a special event at Heacham Village Hall.

Heacham Parish Council in conjunction with Norfolk County Council's heritage team is hosting the afternoon event from 2pm-4pm which will include a presentation about Mercedes' life and her epic Wash swim as well as a guided walk.

It was not her only pioneering swimming adventure. She was also the first person to swim the Straits of Gibraltar and the first British woman to swim the English Channel. In September 1927, while still working as a typist in a London office, she completed the 21 miles in a gruelling 15 hours 15 minutes.



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