Sharks, fog and 21 miles of bone-chilling cold waited between her and her goal. A woman would never do it, they said. That seemed unimportant now as Florence Chadwick waded into the cold surf of Catalina Island and struck out for the coast of California. She was determined to be the first woman to ever swim that 21 miles (34 kilometers). The fog was unusually thick that July morning in 1952, and the sharks began to bother her; they had to be kept at bay with rifle fire. At times she could hardly see her escort boats, but it was the numbing, bone-chilling cold of the water that demanded her attention.
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