On the night of 24 August 1875 Matthew Webb, a 27-year-old British Navy captain, launched himself into the English Channel at Dover. Twenty-one hours and 45 minutes later he became the first man to swim the English Channel. In this acclaimed biography, Kathy Watson shows how Captain Webb was instrumental in bringing the sport of swimming into the modern era. It is also a study of the Victorian drive to push back the boundaries of endurance. In THE CROSSING, Watson uses this great British eccentric’s extraordinary life as a springboard to explore themes of obsession and failure and the emerging force of the media, and swimming’s place in our psyche.