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News > School News > Cross-Channel Swim

Cross-Channel Swim

Congratulations to Bella, Clara, Liv, Rose, Amy and Jemima!
28 Jun 2022
Written by Grace Chaston (Cather)
School News

Congratulations to Bella, Clara, Liv, Rose, Amy and Jemima, our incredible sea-swimming team on completing their Cross-Channel relay. The girls left Dover just after 11 pm on Wednesday 15th June, and taking it in turns in hour long stretches, they reached the beach near Gap Gris in France at 12:45 pm on Thursday 16th June. 

Before their swim, the girls took on hours of training, spending time acclimatising to the cold water and building their endurance. This laid the foundations for their outstanding achievement, but all the training in the world could not have prepared them for the reality of setting off on this adventure in the dark water of the open sea under the moonlight. But as a team, which had bonded over time through this shared experience, and brilliantly supported by Dr Hobbs, Miss Wakeling and Mr Serafimov, they did it!

Jemima, Head Girl, and Swim Team member, shared her thoughts on the experience:

On the first day of Channel-swim training, way back in April, we gasped as we entered the icy water – at just 10.5 degrees, we lasted 20 minutes and came out with rattling teeth and “ice-cream head”.

So it was hard to believe that in two months we would be ready to cover 28 miles as a team of six! But we persevered with our early-morning training, and with the enthusiastic and positive support we received from Dr Hobbs, Miss Wakeling, Miss Bamford, Miss Johannisson, and Mr Serafimov, we transformed into a strong and determined team, ready to take on the wildest waves and even the dreaded jellyfish.

Swimming 200m to a deserted beach in the dead of night was surreal, but turning to wave to the boat as I reached the shore felt magical in the light of a beautiful strawberry moon. Exhilarated, at 11.10pm, I began my first swim from Samphire Hoe beach towards the little boat that was waiting to follow us to France! My second swim, at dawn, was tough against the tide, but swimming in the light of day was less disorientating – although it meant I could see all the jellyfish lurking in my path! And yes, they did sting! By far the most arduous was my third hour – Dr Hobbs had just explained to me that for our swim to be officially recorded, I needed to swim very fast and hard against the
strong tide to get us back on course. And we made it! I was even accompanied by a dolphin for part of the way – perhaps it was a guiding spirit?

I am now the proud owner of a tiny French pebble! My shoulders were killing me for a couple of days though – but it was worth it for the fantastic welcome we received from everyone at School on our return, and for the amazing amount of money donated to the Ukrainian appeal. Thank you!

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