CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to France Magazines today CLICK HERE

17 facts you didn’t know about swimming the Channel

PUBLISHED: 09:21 23 February 2017 | UPDATED: 16:36 23 February 2017

Gertrude Ederle, the first woman to swim the Channel © US Library of Congress

Gertrude Ederle, the first woman to swim the Channel © US Library of Congress

Archant

Did you know that the youngest person to swim the Channel was just 11 years old and the fastest swim was just under 7 hours? Learn these 17 unbelievable facts about swimming the Channel

1. The shortest distance to swim across the Channel is approximately 21 miles but the distance you actually swim can vary depending on the current.

2. For a Channel swim to be officially recognised you must enter the sea from the shore of departure and finish on dry land the other side or touch steep cliffs on the opposite coast with no sea water beyond.

3. The first person to officially swim the Channel was Englishman Matthew Webb on 25 August 1875. It took him 21 hours and 45 minutes.

4. Since then 1,731 swimmers have completed the crossing solo and 7,189 in relay or special category swims.

____________________________________________________________________

Related articles

23 amazing facts you didn’t know about the Tour de France

Bizzare French superstitions you should know about

____________________________________________________________________

5. The first confirmed crossing from France to England was in 1923 by Argentinean swimmer Enrico Tiraboschi in 16 hours and 30 minutes.

6. The first Frenchman to swim the Channel was Georges Michel in 1926, in a time of 11 hours and 5 minutes.

7. The first woman to swim the Channel was Gertrude Ederle from the USA on 6 August 1926 in a time of 14 hours and 34 minutes.

8. The first person to swim across the Channel and back again non-stop was Antonio Abertondo (Argentina) in 1961 in 43 hours and 10 minutes.

9. The fastest person to swim the Channel was Trent Grimsey from Australia in 2012 in a time of 6 hours and 55 minutes.

10. The slowest Channel swim is currently 28 hours and 44 minutes swum by Jackie Cobell from the UK in 2010

____________________________________________________________________

Related articles

Fun ideas for active weekend breaks in France

Are these the best swimming pools in France?

____________________________________________________________________

11. The oldest person to swim the Channel is Otto Thaning from South Africa in 2014 aged 73 years and 177 days.

12. The youngest person to swim the Channel is Thomas Gregory from the UK in 1988 aged 11 years and 336 days.

13. As of November 2000 all solo Channel swimmers must be aged 16 years or older.

14. Alison Streeter, the ‘Queen of the Channel’ has swum the Channel 46 times – currently the most times by any one person.

15. You can wear goggles, one cap, nose clip, ear plugs and one costume that is sleeveless and legless (for men and women) and no artificial aids are permitted.

16. The water temperatures vary from 14-18°C in July and August to 6°C in September.

17. During the course of a Channel swim you cannot touch another human so all food and drink will have to be handed to you via a pole.

By far the most accessible way to take part in a cross-Channel challenge is to join a relay team. Aspire – the spinal injuries charity – has been offering Channel relay swims since 2009, with a full support team, logistics and training schedule as well as team training days in Dover The cost is a pledge to raise a minimum of £1,750 in sponsorship for the charity. This film shows what people can expect when they sign up to join an Aspire Relay Channel Swim team, from swimming indoors at the Assessment Day, to the training weekend in Dover, to the Channel Swim itself. The film follows one of our 2016 teams ‘Team Piranha’ throughout their swim from England to France.

Find out more about swimming the Channel on www.channelswimmingassociation.com and in the March 2017 issue of FRANCE Magazine!

Article by France Magazine France Magazine

More from Travel

Yesterday, 16:34

Visit historic cities, Western Front battlefields and Unesco heritage sites on a journey through Hauts-de-France

Read more
Friday, October 19, 2018

Known for its gastronomy, architecture and eco-friendly way of thinking, we take a look at what makes Lyon such a special place to live and visit.

Read more
Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Discover the windmills of France, their history and new leases of life

Read more
Culture and attractions
Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Fred Sirieix, Gordon Ramsay and Gino d’Acampo head off in a campervan to south-west France in their latest TV adventure

Read more
Thursday, October 11, 2018

France has long been a muse for artists, but do the locations that inspired the likes of Monet and Van Gogh still look as picturesque today?

Read more
Tuesday, October 9, 2018

If you’re heading off on holiday to France and don’t want to leave your beloved pet at home, make sure to book your flight with one of these airlines and you won’t have to

Read more
Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Inspired by the Ryder Cup? We’ve rounded up some of France’s top courses where you can put your golf skills to the test

Read more
Friday, September 28, 2018

France has some iconic avian species. From the shores of the Mediterranean to the rooftops of Alsace Robin Gauldie discovers the best places to see these big birds.

Read more
Monday, September 24, 2018

Celebrate one of France’s finest exports with a trip to one of these traditional wine festivals

Read more
Monday, September 24, 2018

The sunny south of France, with its rich winemaking heritage, is just a two-hour flight away from the UK.

Read more
Subscribe today

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

France Forum

Questions about France? Visit our free France forum to get help and advice from thousands of other Francophiles and expats. Topics include: property, tax, law, travelling, pets, education, healthcare and much more.

Join the forum

Most Read

Join us on social media

France magazine
Living France magazine
French Property News magazine

Enter our competitions

Win books, DVDs, travel and even holidays in France in our great competitions! Take a look at our latest competitions…

Enter now