Nova International, organizers of major elite and mass participation sporting events, will revive one of the world’s classic races: the Great Channel Swim between England and France.
The roots of modern channel swimming go back to 1875 when Captain Matthew Webb became the first person to successfully swim the channel from England to France in a time of 21 hours and 45 minutes.
In the 1950's, the world's best marathon swimmers were recruited to take part in the first Daily Mail International Cross-Channel Swimming Race.
In 1950, Hassen Abdel Rehim from Egypt and Eileen Fenton from England were the first winners when only 9 of the 24 swimmers finished as the race captured worldwide attention. In 1951, 18 of the 20 swimmers finished the second race with huge crowds gathering on the beaches of Shakespeare in England and Cap Gris Nez in France. In 1953, no swimmers completed the course.
After a 50-year interlude, the greatest distance swimming race in the world will be revived. The details are below:
Date: August 19th with a window for the spring tide between August 19th – 24th. Competitors will be on standby for favorable conditions as both the French and English Coast Guards are involved.
Times: Proposed start times is 10 am start for the elite men; 11 am start for the elite women and 11:15 am for two relay teams.
Number: 8 elite men, 6 elite women and 2 relay teams, made up of 6–8 swimmers per escort boat. There may be one celebrity boat and one sponsor boat.
Elite Swimmers: Include Peter Stoychev of Bulgaria, the current English Channel record holder and 8-time FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix champion, and Cassandra Patten of England, the 2008 Olympic 10K Marathon Swim bronze medalist.
Great Channel Swim Relay Details include:
Date: August 20th with swimmers on standby for the first available good day after the Great Channel Swim.
Numbers: 12 boats with teams of 6–10. Each member swims approximately 1 mile at a time. This event will include charities and business teams.
Upper photo of Greta Anderson finishing her historic Catalina Channel swim by the Long Beach Press Telegram. Middle photo shows Petar Stoychev by Pei Qingsheng. Lower photo shows Abdel-Latif Abo-Heif in the 1955 English Channel race.
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