English Channel Swim – Swim4Good S4S

On September 1, Swim4Good Swimmers Guillermo Sagnier, Alberto Compte and I swam across the English Channel in 12 hours 8 minutes in a 3 swimmer relay covering a distance of 50.3km at a water temperature of around 17C (62.6F).  Big thanks to pilot Fred Mardle and son Harry, as well as to our fantastic crew Mireia Tomás and Sara Sagnier.

Swim4Sooz – We dedicated the swim to my wife Susan, who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer.   When I told Susan that, of course, I was canceling the English Channel swim after she got her diagnosis, she said that it was important for her that we go ahead with the swim.  Susan said that us canceling that swim would be letting her cancer get its first victory, and she didn’t want that.  She asked the 3 of us to make it across to France and each one pick a stone from the French side for her.  At all times during the swim I thought that what we were doing paled in comparison to what Susan is and will have to go through.  And indeed Susan gave us strength and made us swim fast.


Our boat “Masterpiece” in Folkestone harbour


With Fred Mardle, our Pilot.  Fred is a fisherman and the oldest of the English Channel swim pilots.  He uses no technology to determine wind, currents, weather and route.  He did a fantastic job piloting the boat.


With Freda Streeter, who runs tight ship on Dover Harbour taking care of swimmers


Our land transportation.  A Fiat 500 which Guillermo had rented.  I was the shortest person in the team (by far).  The 3 of us barely fit inside. Guillermo and Alberto had to be pretty much sticking their heads outside the window in order to fit.


The White Cliffs of Dover, where our swim started.


It only takes a swimsuit, goggles and cap to swim, but there’s a whole lot more


Here we are with Sara Sagnier, who crewed for us.  This was at 12:30AM, a few minutes before starting.


Our crew Mireia and Sara taking a well deserved 10 minute nap.


It was also pretty cold outside of the water. While I was on the boat, I was wearing a face mask, a technical shirt, wool sweater, ski jacket, warm underwear, sky pants, wool socks, Ugg boots (that Isabel and Emily had given me as a present), toe warmers, gloves, and hand warmers.  Fortunately we had bought a couple of folding chairs to bring onboard.


The 3 of us in the French side, with the 3 rocks that Susan asked us to bring to her


There is a pub in Dover called The White Horse, where successful swims are stamped on the wall.  After our swim, we went directly to the pub, we found a small opening and we put our swim information including “S4S”.

photo (77)

The 3 rocks on Susan’s bedside table

Categories: English Channel, Swim4Good

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: