25th Sep, 2010

Channel Swimmer!

Hello Everyone,

I have recovered sufficiently and now have enough energy to post!

I started the swim at 7:55am with perfect weather conditions. There was next to no swell or wind and the sun was just coming up. The sea temperature was between 16 and 17 degrees, which when compared to a regular swimming pool (28 degrees or so) is relatively cold, but as open water swimming goes, is relatively pleasant!

There were at least 3 other boats leaving before me taking other channel swim attempts across. One was a relay and I believe 2 were solo attempts. They all started between 5 and 20 minutes before me. For those of you who know me well, you’ll know I can’t resist a little bit of competition! Within the 1st hour I had overtaken all of the other boats! I ended up around 20 minutes ahead of the nearest boat!

The swim started well, and it wasn’t long before my 1st feed after 45 minutes. I was feeling good, not cold… yet!

For me the next few hours were relatively uneventful, although I could hear a strange clicking under the water every now and then, which I later heard for my support crew was porpoises playing and following me! I also heard that there were fish jumping around me for quite a while, although I didn’t see any of this, I was far too focused on the swimming!

I got a little shock during the swim when I heard a very loud engine, moving very fast and it was very close! I looked around and saw it was a low flying plane (and I mean, very low flying!), which had been sent out to take photos of some of the channel swim attempts that were going on that day!

By four hours into the swim my arms were sore, but I knew that they were ok, and I hadn’t started to get too cold yet!

I managed to keep all of my feeding times reasonably short, between 15 and 40 seconds to take in all of the fluid and eat a jaffa cake, banana or swiss roll! Keeping the feeding times down was important as the longer the feeds are, the longer it takes to make it across and the colder you get as you tread water.

At 6 hours my friend and training partner, Kat Baker, jumped in to join me for a half hour swim alongside me to keep me company and boost my moral. Her first comment as she jumped in was “it’s cold!”

By the 6 hour mark I was getting a little chilly but coping. My arms were a little more sore, but again I was still ok.

I first saw France at about 6 and a half hours. It was a welcome sight, but I knew it was still a long way off!

By 10 hours, France was starting to look a little closer and Kat jumped in again for another half an hour swim alongside me. It was getting towards twilight by this time so the light sticks I was wearing were starting to come in useful!

I was told that we weren’t going to head towards the closest part of France that I had been looking at for ages as the tides were wrong and if I had tried to swim that way I would have never got there as I would have had to work against the tide. So I was swimming along parallel to the coast, a very frustrating experience!

As it got darker I could see the lighthouse towards which I was heading, at least I knew the end was in sight!

As I got closer to shore, the dingy was launched to follow me in as it was getting too shallow for the boat. I swam and landed on the rocks at 8:40 pm, giving me a time of 12 hours and 45 minutes for the crossing.

After landing I had to swim back to the dingy, and after being hauled aboard, the dingy made its way back to the boat where I was greeted by an excited support crew. Once on board I got wrapped up in many towels, sleeping bags and survival blankets!

On the journey back to Dover I was too exhausted to feel exhilarated by the fact that I had just swum all the way from England to France, and it is only really starting to sink in now!

I would like to thank everyone who has helped me to train, been there to support me and generally offered me encouragement. It really has ment a lot and without it I don’t think it would ever have been as possible as it was. I would also like to thank everyone who has sponsored me for their generosity, it is hugely appreciated and going to a very worthy cause. It is still possible to sponsor me for anyone who wants to and hasn’t managed to yet. It all really helps. Once I have collected in all of the sponsorship, I shall let everyone know how much has been raise by your generosity.

If I concoct any more insane plans or challenges, I will also let you know!

Happy Swimming :)

Chris

Responses

Hi Chris, it’s Leanne, ex-ESO. Just wanted to say CONGRATULATIONS!! What you’ve done is amazing and for such a great cause. Are there going to be any photos posted? Leanne

Chris! this is so amazing, well done, you should be so proud of yourself. x no butterfly though i hope!

Hi Chris,

We just wanted to say congratulations on completing such a monumental event. It sounds like you really had to work hard at it.

Well Done,

From All at Zoggs UK

I’d just like to congratulate you too or completing your swim! It’s truly amazing and all at CRY would like to thank you for your wonderful support and fundraising efforts.

Kind regards,

Ben Robinson
Fundraiser
Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY)

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