Archibald Gracie relished his swim on April 14, 1912. The ship’s pool was a “six-foot tank of salt water, heated to a refreshing temperature. In no swimming bath had I ever enjoyed such pleasure before.” But his account went on to say, “How near it was to being my last plunge. Before dawn of another day, I would be swimming for my life in mid ocean in a temperature of 28 degrees!”
After his swim that Sunday night aboard ship, Colonel Archibald Gracie retired to his cabin and fell asleep, only to be awakened by “a sudden shock and noise.” Dressing quickly, he ascended to the deck and learned the ship had collided with an iceberg.
During the same moments in New York, his wife’s sleep was also disturbed. Seized by sudden anxiety, she sank to her knees holding her prayer book, “which by chance opened to the prayer ‘For Those at Sea.”’
She prayed earnestly until about 5 A.M. when the burden lifted. She rested quietly until eight when her sister “came softly to the door, newspaper in hand, to gently break the tragic news that the Titanic had sunk.”
What had happened meantime to her husband? I was in a whirlpool, swirling round and round, as I still tried to cling to the railing as the ship plunged to the depths below. Down, down, I went: it seemed a great distance … [Ascending back to the surface] I could see no Titanic. She had entirely disappeared beneath the surface of the ocean without a sign of any wave. A thin light-gray smoky vapor hung like a pall a few feet above the sea.
There arose the most horrible sounds ever heard by mortal man, the agonizing cries of death from over a thousand throats. …Col. Archibald Gracie, pulled into a lifeboat, later shared his testimony, basing it on Psalm 130:1—“Out of the depths I have cried to You, O Lord.” I know of no recorded instance of Providential deliverance, he wrote, more directly attributable to … prayer.
Robert J. Morgan