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Two Way Channel Swim Success

Published by Warwick School on Wednesday 26th of September 2012

'Success and all home safely!' Peter Nield, swimming coach proudly announced when the team arrived back in Dover at 02.50am, Sunday 8 July.

The Warwick School team of 6 boys, aged between 14 and 18, set off from Samphire Hoe, Dover at 00.15am Saturday 7 July. The swim over to Abbeville, Calais took 13 hours 9 minutes.
About three hours into the swim the team turned into a choppy wind, with 6 hours of slog ahead of them and suffering from motion sickness, it was making progress much slower than they had hoped for. Conquering their fears as they had to swim in the dark through banks of seaweed, jellyfish and the wakes from container ships and ferries, the boys persevered.

After 11 hours and continuously fighting into the gusting 14 mph wind blowing white capped waves into their faces, the boys were all feeling ill wondering whether they could really complete this challenge, and whether they had been over ambitious in thinking that they had a chance!
At this point the all important training kicked in along with the drive and determination to keep going.

They actually arrived at Cap Gris Nez, 40 minutes earlier than the tide change and to turn into the Abbeville Bay in order to land and then swim out to catch the changing tide. The swim back was in some ways easier as the wind was now behind them reducing the motion in the boat and reducing the force 5 weather to a more reasonable 3 to 4. Tide and effort turned the team towards England and the light started to fade as the team tackled the SW sea lane for the second time. The return swim took 12 hours 28 minutes.

Back in the UK, the team were granted special permission to swim to shore through the Western Harbour Entrance in recognition of their achievement, through a very turbulent and fast running tide which was a stunning and exhilarating moment in the swim. A short half a mile swim in the flat calm of the protected harbour finished this remarkable achievement. Parents on the shore cheered them home at 02.50 am Sunday 8 July.
Total swim time was 25 hours 37 minutes and Warwick School are not only the first people to succeed in their attempt at a two-way channel swim this year but are the only boys school to complete the classic, six man, two-way swim ever!

Congratulations to the team and Peter Nield, their coach, to have the vision, courage and energy to see this amazing and exhilarating challenge through.

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