by June
Jan 31, 2017

Swimming is one of the best ways of keeping physically fit, and can be enjoyed by people of all ages.  There are those that swim recreationally, and then there are those brave souls who test the limits of their capabilities by endeavoring to swim the English Channel.  One such person was Mrs. Betty Cohn of 120 Ocean Parkway, who became the first grandmother to swim the channel when she swam from France to England in 1951.

News of her swimming prowess was carried in newspapers around the world. like the Singapore Free Press, and Melbourne Australia's Argus newspaper where she said quite unequivocally,"My advice to all grandmothers is, throw away your rocking chairs and knitting needles and get into the water...I've been swimming 45 year, and I'd rather be in the water than on the land." 

Always training, she works out at the Hotel St. George gym.



Her road to the English Channel wasn't all smooth sailing.  She had to back out of the competition in 1950 due to a lack of financial support.  But Mrs. Cohn was very determined.  "I'm sure I can do it, I have no fear"

To practice for the 21 mile test in stamina, she took on the  comparatively calm Hudson River in the summer of 1950 by swimming 12 miles from Palisades Park to the Statue of Liberty in 4 hours and 15 minutes.

Before her swim her grandchildren apply grease to lessen the affects of the cold water.     


Her husband and coach, Dr. Harry (doesn't care much for swimming") Cohn, applies eye-drops.

Afterward the ever confident Mrs. Cohn remarked, "I knew I could do it, now bring on the channel!"



Betty Cohn takes off from Idlewild Airport bound for London with the well wishes from her granddaughter, Zena, grandson Michael, and her son Pvt. Bernard Cohn.


Looking like a modern day "Venus" Betty Cohn relaxes in the waters off of Cape Gris-Nez in France as she waits for more favorable weather conditions.

In August of 1951 with assurance, tenacity, and spinach and milk for nourishment, Mrs. Betty Cohn made history as the first grandmother to swim the English Channel.  Well Done!



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