long beach pier

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Pictures of Lynne Cox from her (first) successful English Channel Swim.  In 1972, at the age of 15, she completely shattered the record by completing the crossing almost 3 hours faster than the previous record holder. Then she went back the next year and broke it again.    She still holds the record as the youngest women to ever cross (but on a semi-technicality that they instituted an age requirement in the 1980s)

This also inspired my favorite anecdote about people doing dumb things and dumb examples of fatphobia:   When Lynne Cox, a freshman in high school, was training for the English Channel, she woke up every morning at 3am to swim off of Long Beach pier, generally 10-12 miles each practice, with her coach or parents walking along side on the beach.  They often wore parkas and snow boots because her outdoor practices took place even in the snow.

In order to keep her grades and health from suffering too much, Lynne and her parents asked the school if she could be given permission to skip morning gym class.  That way she could sleep in until 4am and have time to complete her homework while warming up in the back the car on the way to school.   

They had to do full-out battle with her school’s gym teacher for this exemption. The gym teacher firmly insisting that a young lady as fat and uncoordinated as she was should not be missing high school gym class.  Fortunately, the principal disagreed and, over the gym teacher’s passionate protests, allowed “training for the English Channel” to count for gym class credit.