The English Channel Tradition Continues

The English Channel Tradition Continues

In the midst of one of the busiest seasons in English Channel swimming history, the marathon swimming community is abuzz today about the 135th anniversary of Captain Matthew Webb’s first successful crossing of the English Channel in 1875.

According to Michael Oram, Captain Webb set off of Admiralty Pier in Dover harbour to start his second attempt to swim the English Channel.

There was not a ripple on the water and the horizon was obscured by a haze.”

21 hours, 44 minutes and 55 seconds later, Captain Webb walked ashore on French soil west of Calais Pier and set in place the tradition of swimming solo between England and France without touching anything or anyone en route, without the use of any equipment or buoyant or protective swimwear to overcome the cold, the rough conditions or the jellyfish.

In the purest form of endurance sports, individuals tackle the elements based on their own level of physical preparation and mental toughness with nothing but a swimsuit, goggles and a swim cap.

It was an adventure in 1875 and an adventure now. In an era where we often take an escalator to get to the second floor, an elevator to get higher, microwave our food and are transported by comfortable jumbo jets or air-conditioned vehicles or trains, gain information on hand-held devices, it is refreshing for many to attempt a true adventure of man vs. nature.

Copyright © 2010 by Steven Munatones