Wellingtonians Swim the Channel

After many months and miles of training in cold water, the English Channel Relay team of Guy Brown (Third Form Beresford), Olly Cash, Josh Perry, Theo Kneen (all Fourth Form Picton), Toby Martin (Lower Sixth Raglan) and Mr Rob Murphy (Common Room) set off from Dover at 1530 on Monday 27th June to cross the English Channel, without wetsuits and in sea temperature of just 15C.

The start time was designed to catch the best of the tides in the Dover Straits and involved every team member swimming during the night. Each swimmer swam at least two sets of one hour, with three swimming for three hours. The first four hours of the crossing were exceptionally rough. Two adult relay teams swimming at the same time turned back after a couple of hours. Wellington pushed on into the Channel, overcoming extremely arduous conditions both for the swimmers and crew on our support boat appropriately called ‘Optimist’. Several team members were sea-sick, due to the exceptional pitching and rolling caused by a heavy swell. Conditions calmed as night fell and the team began swimming through the night, with glowsticks and lights attached to their goggles to alert passing shipping.

By dawn, the lights of France came into view and the team landed at 0524 in the morning, arriving beneath a set of towering cliffs just West of Calais. The team swam in together to touch the cliffs of France, in a final time of 14hrs 8 minutes. They then made their way back on Optimist to Dover, finally landing in England at 0830 after 17 hours at sea.

Commenting on the achievement, Master Julian Thomas said, “Wellingtonians achieve so many remarkable feats during their time at the College, but there is something particularly special and awe-inspiring about the now annual channel swim. Rarely does one see in children the levels of grit, commitment and determination required to undertake such an arduous challenge, but the skills which they have developed and the experience of taking themselves so fully out of their comfort zone to achieve something so remarkable will stay with them for the rest of their lives. We are all incredibly proud of them.”

Wellington College is already booked in for another crossing in 2017 so watch this space…

Back to all news