How Far is Swimming on the English Channel?

August 10, 2022 3 min read

There are many myths about swimming the English Channel, but what's the truth? This article explores the real facts. Learn everything about English Channel, how long it takes swimmers to complete the swim, the temperatures of the water (between 14 and 18 degrees Celsius), and the number of swimmers who die in the course of the challenge. You'll also discover what it takes to reach the finish line in this epic swim.
Swimmers are given a two-week time period to swim across the English


It is a rare feat - only a handful of people complete the challenge each year. In fact, only a small number of people have attempted to swim across the English Channel since the first attempt was made in 1875. Most of the participants have been male, with the remaining percentage female. A separate association, the Channel Swimming Association, was formed in 1927 to regulate the event.

For first-timers, the challenge is not without its challenges. There are fewer people on the boats and stricter rules regarding social distancing. There is no guarantee that a swimmer will actually finish the Channel, but it is always possible to call the pilot and ask for confirmation. Until social distancing rules are relaxed, relay groups are unlikely. In order to succeed, a swimmer must have an excellent psychological preparation.

Water Temperature Ranges From 14 to 18 Degrees Celsius

The English Channel is a body of water that separates the two countries, France and England. The temperature of the water can fluctuate between fourteen and eighteen degrees Celsius depending on the location. During the Channel season, the average temperature is between fourteen and sixteen degrees Celsius. Swimmers can enter the water from any of the three towns that are located along the English Channel: Cherbourg, Poole, or Needles.

The temperature of the water on the English Channel is slightly lower than that in the French Channel, but still quite comfortable for swimming. The English Channel receives about 3,552 mm of rain each year. Generally, the water temperature on the British Isles varies between six and ten degrees Celsius, depending on where you're traveling. Water that is cloudy is richer in nutrients than clear water. Along the coast, murky water can be caused by fine particles that can remain afloat for long periods.

Number of Fatalities in the English Channel Swim

While the number of fatalities in the English Channel swim is a small percentage of the total number of attempts, there are still many dangers associated with the task. Since 1926, there have been eight fatalities. According to the Channel Swimming Association, seven swimmers have died while trying to cross the waterway. Despite this, there have been 1,400 attempts and thousands of failed attempts. While the water temperature in the Channel is around 60 degrees Celsius, swimmers must carefully navigate the busy shipping lanes and dangerous currents.

One of the most notable fatalities occurred in 2013, when Douglas Waymark of Cheltenham became ill half way across the water. He was airlifted to the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford but died there. He had already run 87 miles to reach the port of Dover, and the swim was part of his training for the Enduroman arch to arc triathlon. Although the English Channel swim is not a race for the faint of heart, Douglas Waymark's death is a sad event.

Distance Swum by Americans and Australians

The English Channel is a 21-mile-wide body of water, but despite this, many swimmers are inspired to attempt it. In 2018, ultramarathon swimmer Sarah Thomas completed a four-leg swim across the Channel in just 54 hours. Sarah Thomas is the first person to swim the English Channel four times without stopping. In total, she swam 134 miles across the Channel.

Several swimmers have attempted to swim the Channel since its inception. The first two-way crossing in 1875 was completed by Captain Matthew Webb, who was also an oceanographer. Other swimmers who completed the feat include Thomas William Burgess, Henry Sullivan, Enrique Tirabocchi, and Charles Tooth. Although Webb was the first to successfully swim the English Channel, other swimmers have followed. The most recent recorded time of 16 hours, 10 minutes, and 56 minutes was set by Philip Rush, while the Australian and American women completed the journey in 18 hours, 15 minutes, and 48 minutes, respectively.

American and Australian swimmers can afford to spend the money for their expenses since they have higher salaries than those of other countries. Moreover, American swimmers are known to be the best pool swimmers in the world. While Irish swimmers aren't renowned for swimming distances, their proximity to England and low temperatures in Ireland may draw them to the English Channel. And despite the low temperatures and distance, the English Channel is still considered a challenge in the world of swimming.

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