60 Swims, 2 Treaties Signed, and 1 Whale Saved: The Incredible Life of Lynne Cox

Mark speaks with Lynne Cox, a long-distance open-water swimmer, writer and speaker. Lynne holds over 50 world records and firsts, including setting the record for swimming the English Channel (twice). Lynne was also the first and only person to ever swim between the United States and the Soviet Union in the Bering Strait. This effort took her 11 years to coordinate during the height of the Cold War, and it helped the world to see that there was a very short distance between these two nations (just 2.7 miles).

Today, Commander Divine speaks with Lynne Cox, a long-distance open-water swimmer, writer and speaker. Lynne holds over 50 world records and firsts, including setting the record for swimming the English Channel (twice). Lynne was also the first and only person to ever swim between the United States and the Soviet Union in the Bering Strait. This effort took her 11 years to coordinate during the height of the Cold War, and it helped the world to see that there was a very short distance between these two nations (just 2.7 miles). In this episode, Lynne discusses what it takes to make record-breaking swims, the fascinating process of greatness, and her incredible interactions with dogs, whales, and other creatures in the water.


Key Takeaways:

  • Find the others. When asked why she was compelled to embark on such unprecedented swims, Lynne said it’s because swimming is her “song in the world.” When you follow your song in the world, you tune into who you are and are driven to figure out what you're capable of doing. But more importantly, finding your song in the world almost always involves other people. How do you get a team of people around you that can complement your passion? Together, you can do something that's never been done.

  • How do people become who they are? Throughout all her varied interests (swimming, history, exercise physiology), Lynne says that her common thread of inspiration is figuring out how people become who they are, and how they influence change in a positive way. Who was Gandhi before Gandhi? Who was Amelia Earhart before she became who she was? The interesting part is found in the in-between.

  • Everyone is a genius. Lynne owes much of her contributions to the amazing help of other people, from the teams who helped her on her swims, to those who gave her advice about book publishing. There are so many different little worlds out there that you can tap into through others. And if you can just connect at one point, it leads you to directions you couldn’t have dreamed of on your own.

  • Small openings lead to bigger movements. It took Lynne 11 years to orchestrate her historic swim in the Bering Strait due to border issues in the Soviet Union. When the Bering Strait ports were finally opened, Gorbachev and Reagan stood up and toasted “swim.” President Gorbachev said it illustrated how close to each other the two countries are (just 2.7 miles apart)....

2356 232

Suggested Podcasts

State of the Art Org

Catherine Whitcher

The JLPT Stories Team

BBC Radio

The Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training (ADST)

The Lituation Room

Nurselifern Media company