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The way we were: swimming

Extracts from letters and diaries on swimming

By Ian Irvine   July 2011

The Splash, by David Hockney (1966)

Lord Byron recalls a swim in Venice in a letter to John Murray, 21st February 1821

Of what may be done in swimming, I will mention one more instance. In 1818, the Chevalier Mengaldo (a gentleman of Bassano), a good swimmer, wished to swim with my friend Mr Alexander Scott and myself. As he seemed particularly anxious on the subject, we indulged him. We all three started from the island of the Lido and swam to Venice. At the entrance of the Grand Canal, Scott and I were a good way ahead, and we…

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