Lynne Cox

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Lynne Cox
File:Lynne Cox.jpg
Cox in 2012
Personal information
Nationality American
Born 1957 (age 61–62)
Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America
Sport Swimming

Lynne Cox (born 1957 in Boston, Massachusetts[1]) is an American long-distance open-water swimmer and writer. In 1971, she and her teammates were the first group of teenagers to complete the crossing of the Catalina Island Channel in California. She has twice held the record for the fastest crossing of the English Channel (1972 in a time of 9h 57 min and 1973 in a time of 9h 36 min[2]). In 1975, Cox became the first woman to swim the 10 °C (50 °F), 16 km (10 mi) Cook Strait in New Zealand. In 1976, she was the first person to swim the Straits of Magellan in Chile, and the first to swim around the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa.

Cox is perhaps best known for swimming 2h 5 mins in the Bering Strait on 7 August 1987,[3] from the island of Little Diomede in Alaska to Big Diomede, then part of the Soviet Union, where the water temperature averaged around 43 to 44 °F (6 to 7 °C).[4][5][6][7] At the time people living on the Diomede Islands, only 3.7 km (2.3 mi) apart, were not permitted to travel between them, although the Eskimo communities there had been closely linked until the natives of Big Diomede were moved to the Russian mainland after World War II.[8] Her accomplishment a few years before the end of the Cold War earned praise from both US President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.[9]

At the signing of the INF Missile Treaty at the White House, Gorbachev made a toast. He and President Reagan lifted their glasses and Gorbachev said: "Last summer it took one brave American by the name of Lynne Cox just two hours to swim from one of our countries to the other. We saw on television how sincere and friendly the meeting was between our people and the Americans when she stepped onto the Soviet shore. She proved by her courage how close to each other our peoples live".[10]

Another of her accomplishments was swimming more than a mile (1.6 km) in the waters of Antarctica. Cox was in the water for 25 min, swimming 1.22 miles (1.96 km).[11] Her book about the experience, Swimming to Antarctica, was published in 2004.

Her second book, Grayson, details her encounter with a lost baby gray whale during an early morning workout off the coast of California. It was published in 2006.

In August 2006, she swam across the Ohio River in Cincinnati from the Serpentine Wall to Newport, Kentucky to bring attention to plans to decrease the water quality standards for the Ohio River.

In 2011, she published South with the Sun, both a biography of Roald Amundsen and a chronicle of her 2007 swimming expedition to Greenland, Baffin Island and Alaska, tracing Amundsen's Northwest Passage expedition.

The asteroid 37588 Lynnecox was named in her honor.[12]


Awards and Honors


  1. "Lynne Cox Author Bookshelf – Random House – Books – Audiobooks – Ebooks". Random House.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Dover Life – Successful Crossings 1973
  3. "1987: Chilly swim thaws Cold War relations". Retrieved 8 August 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Swimming to Siberia : American Lynne Cox Realized an 11-Year-Old Dream When She Splashed Ashore for Tea With the Russians". Los Angeles Times. 1987-09-06. Retrieved 2014-03-25.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Long, Cold Swim". New York Times. 1987-08-09. Retrieved 2014-03-26.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Associated Press. "Swimmer conquers frigid Bering Strait – American's crossing of waterway to Soviet Union is unprecedented". August 8, 1987. Washington Post, p.A1. (Highbeam) (subscription required)
  7. Cox, Lynne. Background. In 1987 she saw it "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".
  8. "Diomede". The American Local History Network.
  9. Smith, Martin. January 31, 1988. "The transcendent power of the solo athlete." Orange County Register, p.J1.
  10. Cox, Lynne. "Swimming to Antarctica,Tales of a Long-Distance Swimmer", Knopf, 2004, p.275.
  11. McKay, Mary-Jayne. "Swimming to America". 60 Minutes. CBS News. Archived from the original on Feb 12, 2003. Retrieved 21 July 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "Citation for (37588)". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved 2014-05-10.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "84th Annual California Book Awards Winners".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links