Team English Channel


2049 = Number of times the summit of Everest has been reached

1185 = Number of times the English Channel has been swum by an individual.

Enough said!


Pain is temporary


The concept again is simple. Walk off the beach on the south coast of England near Dover and keep swimming until you feel the rocks and sand of northern France. When you’re able to stand up you’re done.

Point to point the distance between Dover and cap Gris-Nez (the ideal landing spot in France) is 21 miles. However the tides are strong as the Atlantic funnels into the North Sea and then back again with the cycle of the moon. As a result swimmers generally track between 28 and 35 miles.

The rules of engagement are quite strict as the governing bodies want to keep the challenge the same since Captain Matthew Webb first completed the feat in 1875. To be an official channel swimmer you can only have a pair of speedos, a hat and goggles. You coat yourself in goose fat (or modern day equivalent) just prior to starting the challenge to try to maintain some body heat for as long as possible.

In terms of time, as a guide, the quickest crossings happen in about 7 hours. The slowest in 27 hours.

In terms of difficulty I like to relate it to Everest. Quote from the channel swim database website is below:

“811 individuals have swum the channel, completing 1185 crossings. For reference, by 2004 Everest summit had been climbed 2049 times according to or nearly 2x as often. In 2005 – a cracking year – there were 79 crossings of the channel whilst in 2004 there were ~330 climbs to the summit of Everest”

I’ll be aiming for a time in the region of 12 hours. This will be massively dependent on the conditions which is what makes the channel so difficult. The water temperature in early July (when I’m doing the challenge) should be in the region of 15 C. So if dealing with the very busy shipping lanes, the often choppy conditions and the jellyfish (and other wildlife!) isn’t enough I’m likely to be hypothermic in the second half of the challenge (when the goose fat has worn off). Can we all please have a little prayer to Neptune in July to be kind to me!

I’m currently in training. Fingers crossed!



Greatest Personal Sporting Achievement Have a couple that are swimming related. I loved to compete and swimming was almost all I did from the age of 11 to 17. I was county champion several times. I also got three silver medals at the welsh age group championships and went on to compete at the national age group championsips. In addition to club/county galas almost every weekend I went to overseas events and won a big international competition in Malta when I was 16.

Sporting Hero Phelps

Channel Target Time Aiming for around 12 hours