A SWIMMER who become the first British woman to successfully cross the English Channel is to be honoured with a blue plaque.

The plaque to Brighton-born Mercedes Gleitze will be unveiled in Freshfield Road, Brighton at 11.30am on Monday.

Born in Brighton in 1900, Mercedes made her name in October 1927 when she swam the Channel in 15 hours and 15 minutes on her eighth attempt.

The Argus:

The unveiling of the plaque will also mark the completion of the film Vindication Swim, by Hove-based director Elliott Hasler, which tells the story of Mercedes’s extraordinary achievements.

Members of the cast and crew will be attending the ceremony, including actor Kirsten Callaghan, who portrays Mercedes in the film, and actor John Locke, who has started in The Darkest Hour and the Favourite.

They will also be joined by the film’s director as well as members of Gleitze family.

The Argus: Vindication Swim director Elliot HaslerVindication Swim director Elliot Hasler

A spokesman for filmmakers Relash productions said: “Celebrity icon of the 1920s, the name Mercedes Gleitze has faded from public consciousness, but it is hoped that the blue plaque, along with the upcoming feature-length biopic depicting the events surrounding her 1927 swim, will rejuvenate her status as a female sporting trailblazer.”

Following her successful channel swim, Mercedes turned her focus to breaking new recording by swimming the Straits of Gibraltar, the Dardanelles and all around the Isle of Man.

By the time of her retirement in 1932 her record for endurance swimming was 46 hours.

But Vindication Swim concerns itself with its namesake, a stunt undertaken by Mercedes to prove she was the first English woman to swim the Channel.

Days after she completed the original feat, a woman called Mona McLennan claimed she had completed a cross-Channel swim the same week in just 13 hours and ten minutes.

Yet under heavy scrutiny from the press, the challenger soon confessed her swim was a hoax.

This called into question Mercedes’s accomplishment, and she therefore agreed to provide her prowess in a “vindication swim”.

Director Eliott has shot much of the film in Sussex.

Cuckmere Haven, Stanmer House and Eastbourne Pier all feature among other recognisable landmarks.

The film will be released later this year.

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