Mercedes Gleitz Could Only Crawl Ashore

This article is taken from Skegness, Mablethorpe And Alford News of June 26th 1929 and was headlined Miss Gleitz swims the Wash – Successful at Third Attempt – Butterwlk to Heacham in 13 1/4 hours.

Miss Mercedes Gleitz, the Channel swimmer who gave exhibitions at the Skegness bathing Pool during White Week, succeeded last Thursday (20th, June) in swimming the Wash from Butterwick on the Lincolnshire side to Heacham on the Norfolk shore.

It will be recalled that Miss Gleitz originally contemplated attempting the swim from Skegness to Hunstanton but was dissuaded by expert advice, as although the distance between the two seaside resorts is rather less than that of Thursday’s successful swim, the strength and direction of the tidal streams are such as to make the task more arduous, if not, indeed, impossible.

This was the third attempt by Miss Gleitz to swim the Wash as a preliminary to her attack upon the Irish Sea, but on each of the two previous occasions she had to retire, the first time owning to the intense cold, and secondly because she arrived at the crucial spot to take advantage of the turn of the tide a few minutes too late.

Plans were made for a further attempt the previous Saturday but rough weather resulted in this being postponed until Thursday, when the sea was calm and altogether the conditions were almost ideal.

Mis Gleitz left Boston by motor launch about sunrise on Thursday accompanied by several Boaton people. She entered the water at Butterwick, about two and a half miles north of Cut End, at 5.08 a.m. about three quarters of an hour before high water, hoping not doubt thereby to carry the ebb through Freemans Channel to the Roaring Middle.

She reached Heacham beach, about two miles south of Hunstanton, at 6.25 p.m. just after the afternoon high-water, and the arduous nature of the later stages of the swim may be judged by the fact that it took no less than four hours to cover the last mile and a half to the Norfolk shore. She had covered the 16 miles from Butterwick to Heacham in 13 hours 17 minutes, though the actual distance swam was of course much greater.

Hundreds of people greeted the swimmer at Heacham whilst a large company of Boston residents including the Town Council followed the swimmer across in boats.

On leaving the water Miss Gleitz appeared exhausted and could only crawl ashore. She returned to the launch and was taken to Hunstanton Pier where she received by the Chairman of Hunstanton U.D.C. and a large crowd.

Article was made courtesy of Kevin Murphy of the Channel Swimming & Piloting Federation.

Miss Gleitz walked along the pier to the Green and was driven to the Golden Lion Hotel. After a bath and a sleep she returned to Boston.

Copyright © 2012 by Open Water Source
Steven Munatones