What's Involved In Swimming The English Channel?


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Julii Brainard answered
The swimmer should ideally get an expert coach to help them get to the right level of fitness.  They must have a support boat in case of difficulties.  The boat will contain helpers including a pilot to help the swimmer find their way, and many sorts of supplies.  Including food, drink, spare goggles, caps, lightsticks, grease, etc.  The swimmer should practise with various feeding systems to figure out what they prefer.

The swimmer should also:

  • Plan on swimming at least partly in twilight or darkness.
  • Carry a lightstick or have it available
  • Consider applying (on their skin) some sort of grease or other fat product to help with the cold.
  • Carry their passport while in the water.
  • Obtain sporting insurance.
  • Plan for any and all contigencies.
  • Expect it to take 18 hours or so (may take as little as 10 hours if you're fit, but the tides and conditions are unpredictable).

The main body verifying Cross-Channel swims is the Channel Swimming Association. They have their own rules for certification, too.

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