Lynne Cox was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and grew up
in Los Alamitos, California, where she still lives. She is the author of Swimming to Antarctica and Grayson. Her
articles have appeard in The New Yorker and the
Los Angeles Times Magazine, among other
At age 9, she began her swimming career in Manchester, NH with the Manchester Swim Team. Her coach was Ben Muritt, the Harvard University coach. At age 12, Lynne moved with her family to Los Alamitos California where she began training with Don Gambril, coach of four US Olympic Swim teams.
In 1971 at age 14 Lynne swam across the Catalina Channel with a group of teenagers from Seal Beach, California . They swam a distance of 27 miles in 12 hours and 36 minutes.
In 1972 at age 15 Lynne swam across the English Channel and shattered the men's and women's world records with a time of 9 hours and 57 minutes.
In 1973 at age 16 Lynne returned to England and broke the men's world record for the English Channel a second time with a time of 9 hours and 36 minutes.
In 1974 at age 17 Lynne returned to the Catalina Channel and broke the men's and women's world records with a time of 8 hours and 48 minutes.
In 1975 Lynne became the first woman to swim across Cook Strait between the North and South Islands of New Zealand. Her time was 12 hour and 2 1/2 minutes.
In 1976 Lynne broke the men's and women's world record for swimming the Oresund between Denmark and Sweden with a time of 5 hours and 9 minutes. And she broke the men's and women's record that same year for swimming for swimming across the Kattegut between Norway to Sweden in a time of 6 hours and 16 minutes.
In 1976 Lynne became the first person to swim across the 42 degree F waters of the Strait of Magellan with a time of 1 hour 2 minutes.
In 1977 Lynne became the first person to swim between three of the Aleutian Islands.
In 1977 Lynne became the first person to swim 8 miles around the Cape of Good Hope in a time of 3 hoiurs and 3 minutes.
In 1980 Lynne was invited to speak at Tokyo Medical College and to participate in a swim around Joga Shima Island.
In 1983 Lynne swam across the three Lakes of New Zealand's Southern Alps.
In 1984 Lynne swam across twelve major waterways across in the United States.
In 1985 Lynne swam "Around the World in 80 Days" by swimming 12 extremely challenging waterways some that had never been attempted.
In 1987 Lynne became the first person to swim across the Bering Strait as a way to open the US-Soviet Border for the first time in 48 years with a time of 2 hours and 6 minutes.
In 1988 Lynne became the first person to swim across Lake Baikal and had a cape in Russia named after her.
In 1990 Lynne swam across the Beagle Channel between Argentine and Chile as a way to promote cooperation between the two countries. She became the first person in the world to complete this swim.
In 1990 Lynne swam across the Spree River between the newly united German Republics.
In 1992 Lynne became the first person to swim across Lake Titicaca from Bolivia to Peru.
In 1994 Lynne swam through the Gulf of Aqaba from Egypt to Israel and from Israel to Jordan tracing the progress of peace between the three countries.
In 2002 Lynne became the first person to complete a 1.2 miles in Antarctica, from the ship the Orlova to Neko Harbor in a time of 25 minutes.
For more information please take a look at the Swimming Hall of Fame website. Lynne was inducted into the Swimming Hall of Fame in 2000.
This biography was last updated on 08/11/2011.
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Q: When you were twelve years old, your
parents decided to move from New Hampshire to California so you and your
siblings could train with a top-notch swimming coach. What role did your family
play in your development as a channel swimmer?
A: My parents were very supportive of my channel swimming. On my early swims, either my father or my mother went along with me on the escort boat. They also took turns walking with me during my training sessions. They helped me learn to maintain my pace. When my mother and I traveled to England so I could attempt the English Channel, my brother and two sisters pitched in and took care of things my mom would have done if she had been at home. They were all very supportive of my swimming, and for a period of time, David, my older brother, was my swimming coach.
Q: At the young age of fifteen, you "achieved your highest goal in life": crossing the English Channel and subsequently breaking the world record. When did you transition from setting goals of breaking records to setting personal goals that would somehow affect the world?
A: My swim across the Cook Strait in 1975 was the event that changed everything. After I had been swimming for more than five hours, ...
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