Charlotte "Eppie" Epstein coached the United States Women's Olympic Swimming Team in the 1920s and founded the Women's Swimming Association. She was known as "Mother of Women's Swimming in America".

Career

Epstein was born in 1884 in New York City, and was working as a stenographer when in 1917 she, together with her fellow workers, decided that swimming would be a good way to get exercise.

She went on to found the Women's Swimming Association (WSA) in 1920, and became famous for promoting the health benefits of swimming as exercise. This was at a time when women were not viewed as athletic, and exercise was not considered beneficial to female health.

Epstein coached the Women's Olympic Swimming Team in the 1920s. She was able to guide many of the WSA members to victory. Through her coaching, swimmers under her management, known as "Eppie's Swimmers," won 30 national championships, while setting 52 world records.

She battled for women’s suffrage, staging “suffrage swim races” with her teammates, as well as battling for emancipation in women’s sports campaigning for bathing suit reform, distance swims, and other competitive events. Epstein served as the team leader for Olympian Gertrude Ederle, who learned to swim at the Women’s Swimming Association. In 1926 Ederle became the first woman to swim the English Channel beating the men’s time by over two hours.

Epstein served as manager of the U.S. Women's Olympic Swimming Team for the 1920, 1924, and 1928 Olympic Games, and became well known as a spokesperson for female athletes. She boycotted 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin to protest Nazi policies.

She died shortly after, in 1938.

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