The Rosie George Mile (plus 1 metre)

Nick Hungerford successful for the second year running

Nick Hungerford retained the trophy he won in 2021, finishing ahead of Natasha Wake, Anita Goyos and Kevin Blick.

Our Christmas piper and close friend of Rosie, Lachlan McDonald, was present to pipe-in the finishers.

Nick started off the morning counting out the handicap clock on behalf of Dani Lobo

Nick started off the morning counting out the handicap clock on behalf of Dani Lobo

A graceful dive from Yvonne Van der Heul (aka Squirrel) got the race underway

And finished holding the cup for another year

And finished holding the cup for another year

2021 champion became 2022 champion

Lachlan McDonald piped home the first of the race finishers

Lachlan McDonald piped home the first of the race finishers

Lachlan is a regular club fixture on Christmas morning, piping contestants onto the board for the Peter Pan cup race. This was a rare summer appearance to honour our own Lady of the Lake.

Rosemary George, Queen of Dover and sponsor of the club's longest race of the year

The young Rosemary George, the "Queen of Dover", completed a whole host long distance swims and became only the third woman to have swum the English Channel in both directions -  Dover-Calais in 1961 and Calais-Dover in 1967.  The extra 1m is a metric  recognition of the France to England swim, which is no longer possible to undertake.  The extra metre affords Rosie the honour of being the sponsor of the Serpentine Swimming Club's longest race on the fixture calendar.

Rosie was inducted into the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame as an Honour Swimmer in 2003.

No dedicated cake today, so here is one from 1994

No dedicated cake today, so here is one from 1994

Gordon Brodie was on-hand to help with the 1994 cake

Gordon Brodie was on-hand to help with the 1994 cake

Watched on by Peter Saunders

Fifteen and a half minutes after Squirrel's graceful dive Dave McGregor produced his own artistic entry

Fifteen and a half minutes after Squirrel's graceful dive Dave McGregor produced his own artistic entry

(photo: Robert Fisher)

Past president Alan Mitchell welcomed Rosie and fellow club members before handing over to Andrew Fuller who spoke warmly of Rosie's contribution to the club and to British and international long distance swimming

Past president Alan Mitchell welcomed Rosie and fellow club members before handing over to Andrew Fuller who spoke warmly of Rosie's contribution to the club and to British and international long distance swimming

Andrew enthralled those members who were not aware of Rosie's many achievements

Andrew enthralled those members who were not aware of Rosie's many achievements

Though some of the younger members were more enthralled with the operation of the water fountain

Andrew talked us through the highlights of Rosie's career. Reproduced here is some greater detail of Rosie's open water achievements.

(source: openwaterpedia)

  • Awarded the Best British performance in the 1957 Billy Butlin English Channel Swim when she swam for 13 hours 30 minutes.  The swim was unsuccessful, the conditions being atrocious.
  • Participated in the 1958 Billy Butlin English Channel Swim, but was pulled after 10 hours 25 minutes.  Again, conditions were far from favourable.
  • 1955  First encounter with the English Channel - crewing for Abdel Latif Abou Heif - "totally hooked" from that experience.
  • 1956  Southsea to Ryde and return to Southsea – 18 miles in 9 hours and 15 minutes
  • 1957  Donegal Bay, Tullymore to Bundoran, Ireland – 12 miles in about 7 hours
  • 1959  Firth of Forth, Kirkaldy to Portbello Scotland - 12 miles in about 8 hours
  • 1960  first English Channel attempt withdrawn 400 yards from France after 21 hours 10 minutes
  • 1961  crossed the English Channel from England to France in 21 hours 35 minutes.
  • 1961  completed the 36 km Maratona del Golfo Capri-Napoli in 12 hours.
  • 1962  swam 35 km (21.7 miles) in Lake Ohrid, Yugoslavia in 14 hours.
  • 1961  completed the 36 km Maratona del Golfo Capri-Napoli in 11 hours 30 minutes.
  • 1963  swam 35 km (21.7 miles) from Jeble to Lattakia in Syria in 12 hours 30 minutes.
  • 1963  swam 44 km in Lake Ohrid, Yugoslavia.
  • 1963  swam 40 km (24.8 miles) from Montazza to Alexandria in Egypt in 15 hours.
  • 1963  swam 44 km (27.3 miles) in the Suez Canal in Egypt in 16 hours.
  • 1963  completed the 36 km Maratona del Golfo Capri-Napoli in Italy in 13 hours 4 minutes 59 seconds.
  • 1964  swam 40 km in Alexandria Egypt
  • 1964  swam 44 km from Jeble to Lattakia in Syria
  • 1964  swam 44 km Kabreit to Ismailier
  • 1965  swam 40 km in Alexandria Egypt
  • 1965  swam 44 km from Jeble to Lattakia in Syria
  • 1967  completed a crossing of the English Channel from France to England in 17 hours 50 minutes.

COACHING -

  • Served as coach for many English Channel swimmers including Father Robert Manning (US Navy) who crossed the English Channel on 24 August 1984.  "Father Bob" won a trophy from the Channel Swimming Association for the longest crossing in 1984, swimming from France to England in 18 hours 15 minutes.
  • 1967 France to England in 17 hours 50 minutes, becoming the third woman to swim the English Channel in both directions.
  • Coached Jon Erikson at age 14 who crossed the English Channel in 11 hour 23 minutes on 12 August 1969.
  • 1976 trained Jon Erikson when he broke his father Ted Erikson's two-way English Channel crossing record of 30 hours 0 minutes.
  • 1981 trained Jon Erikson for his three-way English Channel crossing in 38 hours 27 minutes, the first three-way swim.

Lachlan played a reel whilst Nick waved the cup

Lachlan played a reel whilst Nick waved the cup

Rosie "shy"?

Rosie’s formative experience in long-distance swimming started when, as a young girl of 16, she crewed on the boat of the Egyptian marathon swimming legend Abou Heif when he won a cross Channel swimming race in 1955 sponsored by the impresario Billy Butlin. His support crew were severely seasick and he kept asking her for "chai" (tea). Rosie thought he was saying that she was "shy".  She did eventually learn the Arabic word for tea, plus several choice Arabic swear words that she will share with you should you upset her! 

Our Rosie is definitely not shy!

For further detail on Rosie and her contribution to International marathon swimming plese follow this link to the 2021 race report.

http://serpentineswimmingclub.com/news/51117/a-mile-and-a-metre-for-rosie-george

Rosie swam in the1957, 1958 and 1959 Billy Butlin sponsored English Channel swim race series

Rosie swam in the1957, 1958 and 1959 Billy Butlin sponsored English Channel swim race series

Atrocious weather worked against Rosie each time. Though her 1957 attempt was curtailed having swum for 13hrs 30 minutes, she was honoured for being the event's best British performer. (photo reproduced by permission of the Dover Musuem and Bronze Age Boat Gallery)

Rosie successfully swam from England to France in 1961.

Rosie successfully swam from England to France in 1961.

Relaxation post training at Dover. (photo reproduced by permission of the Dover Musuem and Bronze Age Boat Gallery)

1967 and a massage from Mum whilst enjoying a post swim cup of tea. Rosie's France to England time was 17hrs 50 minutes.

1967 and a massage from Mum whilst enjoying a post swim cup of tea.  Rosie's France to England time was 17hrs  50 minutes.

(photo reproduced by permission of the Dover Musuem and Bronze Age Boat Gallery)

Many thanks to Dr Lynda Pearce of Dover Museum for permission to reproduce the above photos highlighting young Rosie's career

Natasha Wake followed fellow Aussie Nick into second place

Natasha Wake followed fellow Aussie Nick into second place

Third place to the very successful Channel and long distance swimmer Anita Goyos

Third place to the very successful Channel and long distance swimmer Anita Goyos

Fourth place to another Channel swimmer, Kevin Blick

Fourth place to another Channel swimmer, Kevin Blick

Lachlan again powered up his pipes, this time to serenade the final swimmer home

Lachlan again powered up his pipes, this time to serenade the final swimmer home

Watched on by Bill Deeley

Fiona Petersen finished the Mile + 1m with a smile, applause from fellow club members, and Lachlan's pipes

Fiona Petersen finished the Mile + 1m with a smile, applause from fellow club members, and Lachlan's pipes

It's not the winning, but the taking part.......

Fiona has swum through two winters with the club, but is new to the Saturday races. Hopefully first of many

Fiona has swum through two winters with the club, but is new to the Saturday races.  Hopefully first of many

One foot back on dry land

In the late 1970s and early 1980s Rosie worked to Jock Fee at the Serpentine Lido during summer seasons. She also worked at the Kenward Ladies pond in the 1990s.

Rosie with Jock Fee, Lido Superintendent (aka Boss) 1981

Rosie with Jock Fee, Lido Superintendent (aka Boss) 1981

Rosie and Jock are standing outside the pay kiosk at the then entrance to the Lido. This area is now within the service yard at the back of the Serpentine Pavilion. Rosie spent many hot summer hours in the kiosk welcoming eager members of the public.

(report compiled by Brian Thomas)