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Lily James will get on swimmingly as Trudy Ederle in ‘Young Woman and the Sea’

Lily James in Fast Girls

If the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear Lily James is her flirty spoiled character on Downtown Abbey or fairy tale kind Cinderella, you’d be forgiven for not seeing her as the strong, athletic type. Well hold onto your Speedos.  James, who we’ve been watching as she’s starring in the upcoming television adaptation of War and Peace, is going to take on the real life role of Trudy Ederle, a young American Olympian who decides to swim the English Channel. Of course, if we’d seen her in Fast Girls (we didn’t) we’d have known she could play Trudy swimmingly!

The film is based on the book Young Woman and the Sea by Glenn Stout which sounds inspiring and eye-opening, just the kind of thing our young women need to read and see. The 20 year old gold medalist was the first woman to swim the channel; she did it in just over 14 hours, a remarkable world record, one that stood for another quarter century.  

In 1926, before skirt lengths inched above the knee and before anyone was ready to accept that a woman could test herself physically, a plucky American teenager named Trudy Ederle captured the imagination of the world when she became the first woman to swim the English Channel. It was, and still is, a feat more incredible and uncommon than scaling Mount Everest. Upon her return to the United States, "Trudy of America" became the most famous woman in the world. And just as quickly, she disappeared from the public eye.
Trudy was given a ticker tape parade in NYC

Set against the backdrop of the roaring 1920s, Young Woman and the Sea is the dramatic and inspiring story of Ederle’s pursuit of a goal no one believed possible, and the price she paid. The moment Trudy set foot on land, triumphant, she had shattered centuries of stereotypes and opened doors for generations of women to come. A truly magnetic and often misunderstood character whose story is largely forgotten, Trudy Ederle comes alive in these pages through Glenn Stout’s exhaustive new research.
 The movie won’t arrive until 2017, in the meantime there’s the book. What trailblazing women would you like to see on screen?