The exhilarating true story of Trudy Ederle, the first woman to swim the English Channel, and inspire a “wave of confidence and emancipation” for women in sports (Parade).
By age twenty, at the height of the Jazz Age, Trudy Ederle was the most accomplished swimmer in the world. She’d won Olympic gold and set a host of world records. But the greatest challenge remained: the English Channel. Only a few swimmers, none of them women, had ever made the treacherous twenty-one mile crossing. Trudy’s failed first attempt seemed to confirm what many naysayers believed: No woman could possibly accomplish such a thing.
In 1926, Ederle proved them wrong. As her German immigrant parents cheered her, and her sister and fellow swimmer Meg helped fashion both her scandalous two-piece swimsuit and leak-proof goggles, Trudy was determined to succeed. “England or drown is my motto,” she said, plunging into the frigid Channel for her second attempt at the crossing. Fourteen hours later, two hours faster than any man, and after weathering a gale and waves that approached six-feet, she stepped onto Kingsdowne Beach as the most famous woman in the world.
Based on years of archival research that unearthed Ederle’s memory from obscurity, Young Woman and the Sea brings to life the real Trudy Ederle, the challenges that came with her fame, and the historic mark her achievement made for all women athletes who followed.