Pioneers in Swimming: Lord Byron Swims the Hellespont

Proving that there is a write way to swim!

Welcome to Zone's new series: Pioneers in Swimming! Throughout the series we will shed light on the unsung heroes who have contributed to swimming over the years.

Without further ado, the first pioneer in the series is British Poet Lord Byron (aka George Gordon Byron) and his treacherous journey to swim the Hellespont, now referred to as the Dardanelles.

Born in January 22, 1788, Byron is regarded as a leading figure of the Romantic Movement. His most notable works include Don Juan and Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage. Beyond just writing, Byron was renowned for his heroics and adventurism. He even joined a group of Greek Insurgents fighting a battle for freedom from the Ottoman Empire!

The Mission: Swim the Hellespont

Spanning over 40 miles long (65 km), the Hellespont divides Europe and Asia, connecting the Aegean Sea with the Black Sea. The strait is also the home of a famous Greek myth: Leander swam across the straight every night to visit his love, Hero. (I know, right?)

Not wanting to be outdone by Leander, Lord Byron set out to match the swim. Lord Byron began his swim from Europe on May 3, 1810. Less than one hour and ten minutes later, he successfully reached the city of Abydos in Asia. Yes, that’s an average of 17.5 minutes a mile! Not bad for a guy without formal training or quality swimsuits (ahem, like Zone’s)! From everyone at Zone, thank you, Lord Byron, for proving once and for all that humans are as great as mythological figures.

While swimming the 4-mile stretch of Hellespont may pale in comparison to some of today’s open water feats, Lord Byron’s swim is incredibly impressive. Not only did he persevere through several failed attempts, he did so despite being born with a clubbed right foot. It is very possible that his disabled foot impacted his ability to swim.

At Zone, we are all about innovating, taking on challenges, and persevering until we achieve our goals. Like Byron, we welcome challenges, seeking opportunities to learn and improve as we pursue our dreams.


Now, we want to hear from you.... Who should be the next pioneer we focus on? Let us know in the comments below!


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