Robert Manning was born in Tupper Lake, New York, the oldest of five children born to John and Rosalie King Manning. At the tender age of eight, Robert became fascinated with the idea of someday swimming the English Channel. He later learned to swim through a Red Cross swimming course, and received further coaching in the process of becoming an Eagle Scout.
Upon graduating from Tupper Lake High School, Robert briefly worked in construction before enrolling in Wadhams Hall College to study for the Catholic priesthood. He later finished his studies at St. Bonaventure University and was ordained in . Robert began his priesthood in Ogdensburg, New York, and later served in Massena and Champlain before answering a second calling to become a Navy chaplain.
After training in Newport, Rhode Island, Robert was assigned to Okinawa, Japan, and later served at Parris Island and Charleston in South Carolina; Norfolk, Virginia; London, England; and Twentynine Palms, California. Throughout his priesthood and naval career, Robert continued to train and work toward achieving his dream of swimming the English Channel. That dream became a reality in 1984.
In , Robert wrote about his life, career, dreams, struggles, failures, and successes in his book, Up Close and Personal: A Sailor Swims the English Channel.
Book Signings, Speaking Engagements
- Up Close and Personal: A Sailor Swims the English Channel (, Bloated Toe Publishing, View Book Image) - With Mary I. Manning