What It Takes To Swim Through The English Channel?

Ever wondered why the British are good at trade via sea routes and have a powerful naval force? Well, it all started simply because the United Kingdom is surrounded by the ocean from all sides. There is no option other than to build ships for trade and defense.

And at the center of all this is the English Channel that works as a water boundary between Southern England and Northern France. English Channel, also known as the ‘Channel’ is the world’s busiest shipping area.

The width of separation varies, with the widest points being 240 km apart. At the shortest, the separation is 34 km. This is referred to as the Strait of Dover. Apart from its geographical relevance, the English Channel has also emerged as a type of adventure sports.

Swimming through the English Channel could have the same level of difficulty as climbing Mount Everest. To understand how difficult it is to swim through the English Channel, here are some important things to know.

First swim took 22 hours – It is likely that people have been Channel swimming for hundreds of years. However, the first recorded case was that of Captain Matthew Webb. He crossed the Strait of Dover unassisted in 21 hours and 45 minutes. Since then, more than 1,800 people have successfully crossed the English Channel.

There are organizations like CSA Ltd (CSA), the Channel Swimming and Piloting Federation (CSPF) and the Channel Crossing Association, which authenticate claims made by Channel swimmers. People are not just swimming through, but also looking to achieve the fastest swim. As of now, the fastest Channel swim record is credited to Australian Trent Grimsey. He completed the task in 6 hours 55 minutes.

Mental and physical fitness – It is apparent that swimming 32 miles is going to take a lot of mental and physical strength. Folks who attempt Channel swim take extensive training before they embark on their mission. The stamina needed has to be built over a period of several months. Of course, there are trainers who can help you in successfully completing your Channel swim.

Cold water temperature – The best time for Channel swimming is during the period from July to September. However, even during this time, the water temperature can be 14° to 18° Celsius. This could pose a challenge for folks who are not trained to swim in cold water.

Salty water – Staying in salty water for extended periods can create issues with soft skin such as your lips. Make sure you have the right guidance and adequate resources to deal with such problems.

Sharks and jellyfish – The English Channel is home to various species of sharks and jellyfish. That is why attempting to cross the English Channel without support is not considered safe.

Not a straight line – While the distance of 32 kilometers is calculated based on a straight line, swimming does not happen in the same manner. Anyone doing a Channel swim will probably have to swim much more than 32 km. That is because there is a tendency to drift due to wind and ocean currents. As part of your training, you can probably practice swimming in a straight line and longer than 32 km.

As is evident, swimming the English Channel is not an easy task. You have to be properly trained and seek the assistance of relevant organizations, as mentioned above.

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