Friday, 26 July 2013

More people have climbed Mount Everest

Swimming the English Channel is a pretty big deal for me. I know not everyone will understand it but it's something I've always wanted to do. When I was 6 I swam (32 lengths) half a mile without stopping  at my local swimming pool in Connah's Quay, Flintshire. I was an avid swimmer as a child and people  would always say that I would swim the channel one day. At first I didn't understand what this meant but as soon as I realised what they were saying and that it was possible to swim from England to France. I knew it was something that I needed to do.

And now feels like a good time. My life could do with a bit focus right now. I've spent a lot of time thinking about what I want to do with my time on this little planet of ours a lot recently and I have decided (that although I hope to settle down with a family one day) that seeing the world and having as many different experiences as possible is very important to me. Right up there at the top of the list of things to experience is swimming the channel. I'm nearly 30 now, I think I've been putting it off for too long already.

It's a pretty big deal. A difficult and potentially dangerous undertaking. I could be in the water for anything from 10 - 15 hours, swimming anywhere from 21 to 28 miles dependent on the tide and current. I'm really excited about finally trying to make my dream a reality but at the same time it's hardly a unique undertaking is it?

I mean a lot of people have already made the crossing. I can't find any concrete statistics for how many people have swum the English Channel before me but I believe it's upwards of 1000. Unsurprisingly reading up about Successful English Channel Swimmers hasn't helped. But instead made my "attempt" feel spectacularly insignificant. You see: Thomas Gregory was the youngest swimmer to successfully swim the channel aged just 11 years and 11 months and the oldest was Roger Allsopp aged 70 years and 4 months. Noteworthy swimmers include Australian Trent Grimsey who completed the fastest crossing in 2012 in just 6 hours and 55 minutes and Britain Alison Streeter who has swum the Channel a mind boggling 43 times, including a three way swim (yes that's 60+ miles from England to France, back to England and then back to France without stopping). So me completing it at 30 years of age in a time of 10+ hours no longer feels like a big achievement :(

So if I want to do something, really experience something special, maybe I need to do something that nobody has ever done before? But what is left to do? People have swum the channel, scaled Mount Everest, journeyed to both poles, gone to the moon, so what can I do? If anyone has any suggestions please let me know. But before I do that, maybe I should warm up with a quick and easy swim from England to France.

Also before I start putting myself down and undermining the huge task I'm taking on too much. Less than 1000 people have ever swum the Channel whereas by the end of 2010 over 3100 people had reached the summit of Mount Everest. More people have climbed Mount Everest than have swum the English Channel! Over three times more people in fact. Trying to put it into perspective: only 20 - 30 people out of the 7 billion people on the planet successfully swim the English Channel each year. Which makes it is a very elite group of people to belong to and hopefully this time next year I will be able to say that it is a group that I belong to (I will even have a certificate to prove it).


  1. Scaling Mount Everest vs Swimming English Channel... Isn't that height vs depth of a sort? It doesn't surprise me that more people are interested in scaling heights than discovering their personal depth...

    1. that's deep haha & I think that it is more 'mainstream' - for want of a better term - to climb a mountain. Plus (I could be wrong but) I also think that more people are capable of climbing a mountain - even the tallest in the world - than are capable of swimming hard, none stop and practically alone for 15 hours?

  2. Swimming of English Channel is not a pretty deal for everyone who don't know swim :) Like me.