A friend of mine Angela, that I was in school with ‘just the other day’, recently contacted me to let me know about an adventure she is involved in that involves swimming the English Channel.
Now this isn’t just your routine pro swimmer making a beeline across the channel, and here is a little bit more about this challenge.
There are 6 in the team and they take it in turns to swim for an hour at a time.
They have a week’s window in which to attempt the challenge and and they’re given the nod by their skipper on the best time to attempt it.Then they have to take to the water in their boat.
They will have a pre-agreed order to swim in and they must follow it.
The first swimmer gets in the water and will then swim BACK to shore and onto land. Then they officially set off for France!Each person swims for an hour at a time and then the next person takes over.
If they break their order, or don’t complete their hour, or can’t swim for any reason then they are disqualified.
Here are the frequently asked questions…
How far is it?
It’s 26.39 miles across but due to the tides we’ll actually swim between 30-40 miles.
How long does it take?
The fastest crossing is 7 hours and 17 minutes. The longest is 26 hours, 50 minutes. Your guess is as good as mine but I’d bet on it being nearer the latter! I think we’ll all end up swimming 3 one hour legs with some lucky people doing another hour. This means that some people in the people will almost certainly be swimming at night!
How cold is the water?
In July the water temperature is around 60 degrees fahrenheit or 15 degrees celsius, although this can vary. The rules state you are only allowed to wear one swim suit (NO WETSUITS), one swimming cap, goggles and grease. This means either putting on weight to protect yourself from the cold, or acclimatising by getting used to swimming in these conditions. (BE- My own preferred method is the former but the latter makes more sense, hence joining the Serpentine Swimming Club).
Where abouts in the Channel will we swim?
Swims are typically from England to France, with some nutters swimming back! We’ll be leaving near Shakespeare’s Cliff or Samphire Hoe (in between Folkestone and Dover) and will hopefully finish at or near Cap Gris Nez (between Boulogne and Calais). When we’re finished the pilot turns around and brings us back.
What about the boat?
We have an escort boat that will carry the rest of the team when they aren’t swimming. They will be our support out on the water giving hot drinks and plenty of encouragement. The boat captain, Kevin Sherman, will be adjusting our course and plotting our route as we go.
What do the rest of the team do while you’re swimming?
They will keep an eye on the swimmer to make sure they don’t suffer from fatigue and hypothermia. They will feed them periodically, watch for boats and alert them of any danger or debris. Plus they will keep warm, sleep and try not to be seasick! They also probably dread the moment it’s their turn to get back in!
If you want to know more about this have a look at teir website at www.justswim.it. PS, don’t forget to check out the charities who will benefit from this and donate to them, that’s the whole idea of this adventure!
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