Houlton United Methodist Church

How Long?

Florence Chadwick was an American swimmer who was the first woman ever to cross the 21-mile-wide English Channel both ways. But on July 4, 1952, Chadwick attempted something never done before. She had set her goal to swim the 26 miles between Catalina Island and the California coastline. As she began this historical journey and had spent about fifteen hours swimming, a thick, heavy fog set in. All she could see was a wall of fog. Chadwick was afraid she was swimming in circles, and began to lose hope. Finally, in desperation, she did something she’d never done before. She asked her safety crew to pull her into the boat. She was done. But then, Chadwick soon discovered that she had stopped swimming less than half a mile away. At a news conference the next day she said, “All I could see was the fog.…I think if I could have seen the shore, I would have made it.”