English Channel

English Channel Signature Open Water Swim

In this solo marathon, you may not touch the boat or another human.  Half of the swim was in the pitch black, and the other half was being brutalized by five-foot waves.  All of it was cold, with water temperatures of 62F.


14 hours
18 minutes



As any marathon swimmer knows, it is often hard to swim straight, so course corrections are constant as you gauge your distance from the boat. In our case, swimming close to the boat was difficult because it was terrifying. The pilot boat is 40 feet long and is a sturdy fishing boat. As the Sea Satin pitched around in the waves, I was looking at it from the water level and made it feel like it was about to fall on me. My choice was to stay close to the boat (and let the boat absorb some of the pounding of the waves) and be terrified, or keep my distance from the boat and take the full brunt of the waves myself. I kept my distance, but I will dream about that boat pitching and rolling for a long time.
Doug McConnell
Executive Director