The Life and Times of Mercedes Gleitze Featured in Vindication Swim

The Life and Times of Mercedes Gleitze Featured in Vindication Swim

Relsah Films produced Vindication Swim, a film that follows International Swimming Hall of Fame and International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame dual inductee Mercedes Gleitze who became the first British woman to swim the English Channel in 1927. The film will be released later this year.

Gleitze was a pioneer in many ways: from her swim across the English Channel and the Strait of Gibraltar, she also was sponsored by Rolex (while promoting the waterproof Rolex Oyster watch) and raised money through sponsorship that enabled her to fund a charity for the homeless. 

Gleitze, who is portrayed by British actress Kirsten Callaghan in the film, was unusually selfless. She wanted to alleviate family poverty during the years leading up to the Great Depression. After her English Channel crossing in October 1927, she set up a trust fund with the Charity Commission. In June 1928, The Mercedes Gleitze Homes for Destitute Men and Women was established. The Gleitze Homes were destroyed in 1940, but her trust fund remains active (re-named The Mercedes Gleitze Relief in Need Charity). In keeping with the spirit of Gleitze, its funds are targeted towards grants for families to alleviate needs arising from poverty.

The images released by Relsah Films showcase the ambiance, traditions, and attire common in the 1920’s channel swimming community and British society: from escort crew members with jackets and ties, and escorting channel swimmers with a rowboat.

The title of the film is based upon Gleitze’s efforts to prove her swimming abilities and establish her legacy, set before, during and after her crossing the English Channel.

The namesake of Vindication Swim in 1927:

Kirsten Callaghan portrays Gleitze. John Locke portrays her coach Harold Best:

Filming Vindication Swim in the sea:

Photos courtesy of Relsah Films. For more information from Relsah Films, visit here.

Steven Munatones