Eva Morrison

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Morrison circa 1935
Morrison circa 1935

Eva Belle Morrison Abdou (March 8, 1911 – March 17, 1985) was a Boston hospital librarian, and a long distance swimmer who made three attempts to cross the English Channel.[1][2][3] She was on the Board of Governors of The International Professional Swimmers' Association.[4]


She was born on March 8, 1905[5] in Pictou, Nova Scotia, Canada.[6]

Eva completed her first 5-mile swim in 1918.[7] In 1926 she lost the Boston Light swim after swimming for over 7 hours in frigid water. She was the last competitor to drop out of the race.[8]

She attempted to swim the English Channel in 1927.[9] She made another attempt on August 23, 1935.[2][3]

She won the 1935 Dover Trophy with a time of 15 hours and 55 minutes for the 18-mile swim from Folkestone to Margate.[7] On 9 October 1941 she was in a car accident in Wiscasset, Maine that killed Michael Tonely, her swimming coach and trainer. Mr. Tonely is the gentleman sitting in the middle of the boat of the accompanying Library of Congress photograph.[1]

She died on March 17, 1985 in Brockton, Massachusetts.[10]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Swimmer In Auto Crash. Eva Morrison of Boston Thrice Tried English Channel Crossing". New York Times. October 11, 1941. Retrieved 2010-12-18. Miss Eva Morrison, 35, of Boston, who thrice attempted to swim the English Channel, was in critical condition at a hospital today ... 
  2. ^ a b "Eva Morrison Awaits Word to Start Swim". Associated Press in the New York Times. August 7, 1935. Retrieved 2010-12-18. Eva Morrisan, 25-year-old Boston hospital librarian, awaited only the word of the weatherman today before plunging into the choppy ... 
  3. ^ a b "American Girl Fails To Swim The Channel. Eva Morrison Gives Up Attempt Only at Insistence of Others When 4 Miles From Goal". Associated Press in the New York Times. August 25, 1935. Retrieved 2010-12-18. High wind, rain and a rough sea forced Eva Morrison, 25-year-old Boston hospital librarian, to give up an attempt today to swim the English Channel when she was within four miles of her goal, Cape Gris Nez, France. 
  4. ^ "Swimmers Organize". 21 September 1927. Retrieved 2009-12-03. The Board of Governors of the organization consists of Edward Kenting and William Erickson (swimmer) of New York; Byron Summers, San Francisco; Lottie Schoemmell, Lake George: Eva Morrison ... 
  5. ^ 1911 Pictou Town, Nova Scotia, Canada census
  6. ^ "Starts Long Swim", The Halifax Herald, August 23, 1935, Page 1
  7. ^ a b "Eva Morrison". International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame. 1973. Retrieved 2009-12-03. 
  8. ^ "Race History". Boston Light Swim. 
  9. ^ "Swimming". 21 September 1927. Retrieved 2009-12-03. 
  10. ^ "Distance Swimmer Eva Abdou, 72. Saved Many Off Scituate Beaches". Boston Globe. March 18, 1985. Retrieved 2010-12-18. On Aug. 23, 1935, in one of the worst storms of the season, Mrs. [Peter J. Abdou] tried to make the swim from England to France. A man accompanying her gave up after only four miles. After 16 hours, with the French coast in sight, Mrs. Abdou was forced to abandon the swim because of the rough seas.