The BEST Young Athletes

The BEST Young Athletes

After 8 months of selection challenges including thorough medical check-ups, pool swimming qualification swims and open water swimming selection trials in freezing cold lakes and the open sea, the Bristol English Channel Swim Team (BEST) named its final team. These young aquatic adventurers come from 8 different clubs from the South West of England and include acknowledged future stars to relative newcomers.

In August 2010, Eleanor Aris (shown above), Lucy Davies, Lewis Clarke, Angus Rowley, Drummond McMillan, Danny Pirret, James Elmer and Alexander Chantler will attempt to break the existing record for the youngest relay team to swim across the English Channel. Each team member will swim for one hour in rotation with the very likely possibility of swimming for two or three separate hours.

The BEST aim is to encourage children to get active, entice a generation of young pool swimmers out into open water and participate in a scientific research project.



Research director Dr. Flora Bird is testing the BEST athletes to see how they adapt to cold water over time.




As a baseline, Dr. Bird (shown on left) tested the swimmers at a specialist research facility where they swam without wetsuits in a tank of cold water under laboratory conditions while their respiration, metabolic rate and other parameters were monitored. With very little scientific work done on hypothermia in children, it is hoped that the research will help keep children safe as they progress from pool to the open water.


The team is surrounded by professional head coach Penny Porter (shown below), a former British record holder and Great Britain swim team physiotherapist, assistant coach Chris Eynon (shown below), winner of the British Long Distance Swimming Association Championships, English Channel relay and solo swimmer, team manager Sarah Johnson (shown on left), a former BBC TV director and producer, organizer of filming expeditions, team doctor Dr. Patrick Morgan (shown below), National Honorary Medical Advisor for the Great Britain Surf Lifesaving Association, and Dr. Flora Bird.










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