We congratulate our colleague and the team on their successful swim challenge. They managed to raise over £2,300 for the Marine Conservation Society. Here is a report on the swim:
Swimming the Channel as a relay is all about the team you do it with, it is a huge physical challenge but also very much a mental challenge. Not only is there the seasickness, but also the jellyfish, the huge ships, the cold water and the vast openness of the ocean which can freak you out (even if you don’t start worrying about how deep it is and what’s down there!).
Our team have been training for 2 years with the last few months of intensive sea swimming training. It takes this long, as you need to acclimatise yourself sufficiently to cold water swimming, so basically, swimming in just a swimsuit at least once a week, all winter in either the sea, river, or a lake.
You need a team who support each other not only through the swim but also through the training, as getting in to swim repeatedly when everybody around you is wrapped up in coats and woolly hats is no fun. In addition, there was the added challenge of keeping swim fit and staying mentally positive during multiple Covid-19 lockdowns and limited time in pool swim sessions.
Chloe started us off from Dover in complete darkness, just lit by a torch shone on the beach from the boat at 01:18 am and the excitement was high. The water was rolling but nice conditions.
Carmen swam the second-night swim leg.
Unfortunately, by 03:00 am we got hit with seasickness first with Michelle and then Chloe.
Jane swam the 3.30 am sunrise swim, only to find no sunrise just a foggy soup, you couldn’t see anything at all except our boat.
Michelle got in for her first swim and thought the sickness would stop but it didn’t she continued to be sick whilst swimming.
We repeated our order of Chloe, Carmen, Jane, and Michelle for the next rotations of swims, which was when the Jellies decided to come out. Chloe and Carmen both repeatedly stung.
Jane got in for the third swim and was told by the pilot ‘you need to swim fast so we can make the Cap Gris- Nez’, the fastest crossing point. She was exhausted after her hour, but we were close enough in.
Michelle got into lovely flat water as we were out of the shipping lane, so pushed hard to ensure we got close enough inshore to miss the pull of the tide which if you get caught adds approx. 2 hours to the swim as it drags you up the French coast. While she swam the fog finally cleared and the team could see dolphins and a seal.
Chloe had to go in for the 4th swim still unwell but swam hard and pulled us into Wissant Bay, just above the Cap. Carmen took it home to the steps of the Sea Wall at Wissant.
We had glorious sunshine on the way home and finally, the sickness stopped so we could enjoy our achievements. We wanted 14-16 hrs and finished in 13.31 hours we are so very proud of each other, it was true teamwork.