02/08/2013 by Carl Reynolds
Success in achieving an endurance swim (or, in many cases, surviving) is dependent on the swimmer (you’d be surprised), the pilot and the support crew. Lone Swimmer’s written about choosing a crew recently, but before you click through, consider the story of Ms Sarah Tunnicliffe, aka Chicken. Who swam the English Channel on Thursday (serendipitously also Yorkshire Day) in 16hours and 30ish minutes. The exact time is yet to be precisely verified.
Sarah’s been training and immersing herself in the art of swimming for a few years. The Channel Bug infected her a few years ago; a secret at first, and then out in glorious determination to succeed. She swam in rivers, lakes; went on trips for coastal swims in places various; dived into Ned’s Hard and Soft Core camps. Regularly coated herself in mucky Dover Harbour. Swam in a 3 person Channel relay as a Cake Pigeon in the brisk waters of late June and then one day arrived at a van on Varne Ridge. And looked to those other white cliffs and thought, I’m coming over. By myself this time.
For those of you who know her, I’ll let her tell the story story. For the rest of you, a few pictures of the day. We started just before sun up. We had two teams of two on four hour shifts. It worked and we all came together when needed. Sarah’s stroke rate was a metronomic 50spm all the way over; she fed every time, blubbed once and was the perfect combination of stoic determination and Yorkshire wit. It was a privilege to play a small part in her success.
Sarah Tunnicliffe, Channel Swimmer, 1 August 2013, 16hrs 32mins