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    Arquivo das águas abertas (Open water swim files)
Nossa contribuição para preservar a história da Maratona Aquática  
( Our contribution to  preserve Marathon´s Swimming history) 

Nota: Todos os textos aparecem primeiro em português e na sequência em inglês. FOTOS no final da página.

(Note: All texts appears first in portuguese and  following in english. PICTURES in the end of the page).

Este espaço é dedicado para divulgar fotos históricas de importantes provas de Maratona Aquática na década de 50 e 60 em todo o mundo. Estas fotos fazem parte do acervo de livros e jornais que Abilio Couto colecionava e ficaram quase 60 anos guardados.

Algumas fotos são consideradas raridades. Galeria de fotos no final da página


This area is dedicated to promote old-historic swim pictures of the 50´s and the 60´s around the world. This pictures belongs to          Couto´s personal files of books and newspapers cuts and was saved from the last 60 years. Some pictures are considered rare. Pictures gallery at the end of the page.



A primeira travessia do Canal por Matthew Webb em 1875

(First Channel swim by Matthew Webb in 1875)

This item is available only in English, RARE extracted from the 1956 book "It´s Cold in the Channel wrote by Sam Rockett.


Undoubtedly, Channel swimming began a long time ago. 

But was Captain Webb in 1875 the first man to get across?

Was Henry Sullivan in 1923 the first American to suceed? Was an Italian in the same year the first person to swim from the French coast to England? Let us consider the facts- and please believe that I am not writing for effect or with any desire to stir the muddy waters of controversy, bout only to assess the evidence as impartially as I can.

In the dead of winter on 20th December, 1862, an English merchant seaman named William Hoskins floated from Dover to Calais in a bundle of straw. We need not regard that fact too seriosly, but his feat was remembered and set people thinking.Still, it was ten years later before any know person summoned enough courage and ambition to try to swim across the Straits. On an August day, another Englishman, J.B. Johnson, made the attempt but was beaten by rough seas after one hour and three minutes. The first man on record to swam from the admiralty Pier at Dover to the sand of Calais in 21 hrs 45 min. He dived from the Dover pier at 12.56 p.m. on 24 th August, 1875, and landed on French soil at 10.41 a.m. the following day. Even so, it was his second attempt on the Channel. Twelve days earlier he had started at Dover but had given up after fighting stormy seas for nearly seven hours.

Channel swimmers today- and remember that more than four hundred assaults on the Channel have now been made- still refer to Webb´s feat in awed voices. He had disadvantages that have largely been overcome through our better knowledge of long-distance swimming. He knew little of the Straits currents, he did, however, dose himself generously with porpoise oil "to keep out the cold and maintain the tone of the body during the long immersion in water". Young Captain Webb was clearly something of a "Superman". He was accustomed to little sleep; "I record the fact", he wrote, "That since I was fourteen years of age I have never had more than four hours sleep, as a rule.". Physicians marvel that he was able to keep up his circulation and sustain his body heat; is ts said that actually emerged from the water as warm as when he went in, and only a Channel swimmer can fully appreciate that extraordinary phenomenon. He wore no goggles.The crawl stroke was unknow in 1875 and he relied largely on a side stroke and breast stroke. No long-distance swimmer would dream of using the side stroke today. He took no solid foods.

Today, most aspirants eat a little chicken, fruit, chocolate, and other solids early in the crossing. Webb drank English ale, brandy, beef tea, coffee and-of all things-cod liver oil, wich made him violently sick. He did not know the value of glucose as an energy provider. Moreover, of course, it was not then know that the Gris Nez to Dover route is far easier than the England to France passage.

Webb´s position was also against him. He started at the end of the ebb tide wich carried him slightly westwards, and he had to swim six and half hours on the flood tide to come east of Dover again.He aimed to get west of Gris Nez with the next ebb tide; we now know that if any swimmer is west of this point his chances are remote because of the out-sweeping currents. True, two swimmers have been known to defeat these currents, but socres of others have been beaten by them. In all, it is estimated, Webb travelled at least fifty miles. At first he was averaging twenty-six strokes to the minute. Accompanying him was a lugger and two rowing-boats containing fourteen people, including five journalists. Two observes were deputed to see that the exploit was genuine and there was even a diver to go to Webb´s assistance should it be necessary. After dark one of the referees was stationed continually in a rowing-boat while the other dinghy kept contact with the lugger.

Early in the afternoon a little rain fell and Webb took his first refereshment- a small cup of ale. The flood tide began at three o´clock and by four he was back abreast the point at wich he had started.A thick haze almost hid the Dover cliffs, but the sea had become perfectly smooth and warm. By six o´clock he was beginning to make real progress across the Channel, tough a large steamship passed uncomfortably close.

Soon, after sunset the South Foreland Light appeared and at half-past eight in the evening it was estimated that Webb was ten miles distantr from it. Half and hour later, he called out that he had been stung by a jellyfish and asked for brandy. His stroke was now noticeably weaker.A few minutes later, however, he shouted that he was all right. The tide, wich had been slack for some time, was now turning towards the south-west and Webb had reached mid-Channel. By eleven o´clock he was eight miles from Gris Nez and it seemed that he might complete his task in fourteen hours. But at two in the morning the flood tide again affected his course; moreover, the referee reported that Webb was geting weaker and the diver took his place in the rowing-boat ready for emergency. An hour later hopes faded.The water was becoming choppy, and the swimmer´s progress slower. At dawn there wasno more sign of land than if they had been in mid-ocean. At half-past five land was at last sighted throught the mist and Webb, greatly encouraged, struck out again with vigour. The tide, however, carried him to the North-east and for an hour or so he made little headway.

He had now been in the water for more than eighteen hours and was becoming exhausted. The breeze had increased and waves were beating his face. At eight in the morning he was seriosly distressed. As he grew weaker, the wind and tide became stronger. At 9.30 a.m. another rowing-boat came out and rowed on his weather side to give him some protection. Then the diver swam for a time alongside him before he was beaten by rough sea and had no return. Even when Webb was within 200 yards of the shore it seemed unlikely that he could reach it because of his weakness. Members of his party gave him soundings that were cheering him constantly and finally rowers pushed down ther long oars to show that they could easily touch the bottom.When at last he did reach land the men in the boats jumped into the water and hugged him with delight. Exhausted, he was wrapped up and given three or four glasses of port.

Afterwards he described his feelings in these words:"The moment when I touched the Calais sands, and felt the French soil beneath my feet, is one wich I shall never forget, were I to live for a hundred years. I was terribly exhausted at the time, and during the last two or three hours I began to  think that, after all, I should fail. On the following day, after I had a good´s night rest, I did not feel very much the worse for what I had undergone. I had a peculiar sensation in my limbs, somewhat similar to what wich is often felt the first day of the cricketr season; and it was a week before I could wear a shirt collar, owing to a raw red rim at the back of my necks, caused by being obliged to keep mu head back for so long a period; for, it must be remembered, I was in the water for very nearly twenty-two hours."

For many years after his sucess there was some doubt in the minds of people living in Kent whether his swim had actually been genuine. Even as recently as 1950, before the first Cross-Channel race, knowledgeable fishermen of Dover and Folkestone flatly refused to believe that the Straits could be swum in that way. The cloud of doubt was such that as late 1905 affidavits were still being sworn by members of the escort party. Indeed, when T.W.Burgess swam from England to France in 1911, the most relieved person in England was probably Captain Webb´s widow. Webb has died twenty-eight years earlier, while trying to swim the rapids at Niagara.



Divulgação da travessia de Toronto em 1963, Couto foi terceiro geral e primeiro amador ( Couto também nadou a prova em 1960)/Promotion paper about Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto, Canada,1963, Couto was third general and first amateur. He swam in 1960 too.


Boletim da WPMSF de 1971, citando a intenção de fazer um Hall fa Fama para a Maratona Aquática ( WPMSF bulletin´s -, year of 1971. This paper leads to the Hall of fame to Marathon Swimming)


Divulgação da famosa Maratona Labatt´s em Ontario , Canadá ( 1966)/ Promo poster of the famous Labbat´s Marathon, Ontario , Canada ( 1966)


Convite para a travessia John Fogarty , Estados Unidos, 1968/ Invitation to John Fogerty swim in USA, 1968


Mapa entregue aos nadadores da travessia John Fogarty , Estados Unidos, 1968/ Sea map delivered to the swimmers at John Fogerty swim in USA, 1968


Panfleto sobre o travessia Hernandarias-Paraná de 88kms em 1966, com os nadadores inscritos/ Promotion poster of the Hernandarias-Parana swim, 88kms in 1966, including the swimmers names.


Carta da empresa da nadadora Greta Andersen endereçada a Couto, para ter referencias sobre uma turnê dela ao Brasil/Letter from Greta Andersen Enterprises to Couto, to ask for references in Brazil to her tour.


Convite para o Campeonato Mundial, Capri-Napoles, Italia, decada de 50/ Invitation to the World Championship, Capri -Napoles, Italy, 50´s.


Capri-Napoles 1957, Couto é o primeiro da esquerda/Capri-Napoli ,1957, Couto is the first from Left.


Capri-Napoles 1957, Couto a direita, Alfredo camarero no meio/Capri-Napoli,1957, Couto is on Right, Alfredo Camarero on center


The Times -Hendersonville 1958


Britânico Gerald Forsberg, OBE, nomeado no ISHOF, ex-recordista mundial do Canal da mancha/Gerald Forsberg, british, OBE, ISHOF honoree, former recordholder of English Channel


Capa do livro Modern Long Distance Swimming de Gerald Forsberg, 1963,onde cita Abilio Couto duas vezes./ Cover of the Modern Long Distance Swimming book, by Gerald Forsber, from 1963. The book mentioned Abilio Couto twice.


Gerald Forsberg no dia do recorde mundial do Canal da Mancha em 1957/Gerald Forsberg, world record of the English Channel, 1957.


Abilio Couto é citado no livro Modern Long Distance Swimming do inglês Gerald Forsberg, 1963/ Couto on Modern Long Distance Swimming bokk, by the britsh Gerald Forsberg, dated of 1963.


Abilio Couto é citado no livro Modern Long Distance Swimming do inglês Gerald Forsberg, 1963/ Couto on Modern Long Distance Swimming bokk, by the britsh Gerald Forsberg, dated of 1963.


Carta do nadador inglês Gerry Forsberg a Abilio Couto ( Letter from Gerry Forsberg to Abilio Couto)


Carta da WPMSF a Abilio Couto( 1970) /Letter from WPMSF to Couto ( 1970)


Resultados da prova das 24 horas de La Tuque- Campeonato Mundial de Equipes ( Canadá) /Results of 24 hrs of La Tuque- World Swiming Marathon by team ( Canada)


Resultados da prova das 24 horas de La Tuque- Campeonato Mundial de Equipes ( Canadá) /Results of 24 hrs of La Tuque- World Swiming Marathon by team ( Canada)


Resultados da prova das 24 horas de La Tuque- Campeonato Mundial de Equipes ( Canadá) /Results of 24 hrs of La Tuque- World Swiming Marathon by team ( Canada)


Carta inscrição de Abilio Couto na travessia de Guaymas em 1971 no México, 42 kms/ Entry form of Abilio Couto to Guaymas swim, 42 kms, 1971 in Mexico


Documento sobre a travessia de Rhode Island em 1970, que inclui o nome dos paises que já nadaram, como o Brasil, devido a participação de Couto em 1969/Paper about Rhode Island swim in 1970 ( Portsmouth to Newport), including the countries that participated in the past, such as Brazil, after Couto´s swam in 1969.


Tecnico australiano elogia Abilio em sua visita ao Brasil em 1963. Sobre o brasileiro ele disse: deveria receber uma pensão por tudo o que fez ao país/ Australian coach Forbes Carlile visit Brazil in 1963, saw Couto demonstration in Sao Paulo, made compliments to the brazilian and said: Deserved a lifetime payment for his efforts.


Matthew Webb durante sua travessia, a primeira da história do Canal da Mancha. A gravura é de um jornal inglês de 1875, foram 21h 45 min de nado.


Matthew Webb, 1875.


Itens relacionados a vida do nadador Matthew Weeb, seu livro e a roupa usada em sua travessia do Canal da mancha em 1875.


Thomas Blower, inglês, que em 1937 nadou o Canal da Manch em 13hrs 31min.


Thomas Burgess, o primeiro a repetir a façanha do Cap. Matthew Webb, in 1911 com 22h 35min

Mareeh Hassan Hamad ( Centro)exausto após vencer o Channel Race em 1951/ Mareeh Hassan Hamad ( Center) after a sucessfull swim in 1951 Channel Race

O sinal pré-prova foi dado e os barcos se reúnem para acompanhar os nadadores na corrida anual do Daily Mail no Canal da Mancha ( 1951)/ Standby signal has been given, and the boats assemble for the Daily Mail annual Channel Race ( 1951)

Brenda Fischer, 1951, atravessou o Canal da Mancha com recorde/ Brenda Fischer, 1951, sucessfull swan the Channel with a record time.

Nadadores e barcos saindo da França rumo a Inglaterra/ Swimmers and boats take off France to England

Florence Chadwick antes de uma tentativa no Canal da Mancha/ Florence Chadwick before a Channel attempt

Ned Barnie iniciando sua travessia no Canal/ Ned Barnie starting you Channel swim

Philip Rising chegando com dificuldade após completar o Canal da Mancha em 1951, nadando da França para Inglaterra em 15:55min/ Philip Rising landed a difficult spor int 1951 after crossing from France in five minutes short of sixteen hours.

Sam Rockett, completou com sucesso o Canal/Sam Rockett sucesfull swimmer

Preparando os sinalizadores para uma travessia no Canal da Mancha/ Preparing the night signals for a English Channel swim

Nadador desconhecido se alimentando durante travessia do Canal da mancha nos anos 50/ Unknow swimmer being feeded, English Channel attempt in the 50´s.

Apresentação dos nadadores e países na competição "Channel race"/ Countries and athletes presentation at the Channel Race competition.


Greta Andersen USA, nadou da França para a Inglaterra em 1958.


Página do livro de Montserrat Tresseras, entitulado Nadando o Estreito ( Gibraltar)/Page of the Montserrat Tresseras´book called Swimming the Strait ( Gibraltar).


Carta do General Zorkani a Couto tratando sobre um evento da ILDSF para ser realizado no Brasil e informando sobre as próximas provas internacionais no Nilo e Suez ( 1974)/ Letter from General .Zorkani to Couto about ILDSF race to be held in Brazil and the next international events in Nile and Suez ( 1974)


Resultados da Maratona do Nilo,1975/ Nile Swimming Marathon results, 1975


Resultados da Maratona do Canal de Suez,1974/ Suez Channel swim results,1974

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