5 ISSUES FOR £5 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

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Looking for a new route for your next cycling holiday to France? On the ‘Trail of Two Cities’ route you can cycle from London to Paris and discover many beautiful towns and villages along the way

Read more
Cycling in France
Thursday, June 14, 2018

There are 14 villages on the shortlist to win the title of ‘France’s favourite village 2018’ – explore them all and vote in our poll to let us know which one is your favourite

Read more
Monday, June 11, 2018

In a patchwork of landscapes, the Upper Valley of the Aude boasts unspoilt countryside and a protected natural environment, which is perfect for hikers and nature lovers looking to escape the crowds of Carcassonne

Read more
Friday, June 8, 2018

Cycling through the Loire Valley past vineyards and châteaux, dressed in vintage clothes and riding a retro bike… what’s not to love about the Anjou Vélo Vintage?

Read more
Cycling in France
Thursday, June 7, 2018

Need ideas for this summer holiday in France? There are plenty of routes for a multi-activity trip in the Maurienne valley in the French Alps

Read more
French Alps
Tuesday, June 5, 2018

From recycling schemes to public parks and green spaces, a number of French cities are making an effort to become more environmentally friendly. According to a report these are the 10 greenest cities in France

Read more
Pays de la Loire
Friday, June 1, 2018

From famous gardens in Antibes and Nice to less well-known jardins in Menton and Mandelieu-la-Napoule, there are plenty of remarkable gardens to visit along the Côte d’Azur

Read more
Provence-Alpes-Cote d Azur
Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Explore Europe on a CroisiEurope river cruise and discover sunlit vineyards, vibrant cities and fascinating places...

Read more
Boating in France
Friday, May 25, 2018

Fancy something a little different during your next trip to France? Visit one of France’s many weird and wonderful museums

Read more
Culture and attractions
Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Soothe aches and pains and take in beautiful architecure with a visit to these spa towns renowned for their thermal waters

Read more
Short breaks
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