Julian Critchlow Launches The English Channel Relay Database

Julian Critchlow Launches The English Channel Relay Database

Julian Critchlow Launches The English Channel Relay Database

Courtesy of Julian Critchlow​, English Channel.

While solo crossings of the English Channel have been well-documented since 1926 by the Channel Swimming Association and more recently by the Channel Swimming & Piloting Federation, it took a massive, long-term effort by Julian Critchlow to comprehensively document the details of thousands of solo swims from 1875 to the present.

The International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Administrator and 4-time English Channel solo swimmer (and one EC relay) just launched a similar database for English Channel relays (2-person duo, 3-person trio, 4-person quad, 5-person quintet, 6-person sextet, etc.).

The ever-analytical Critchlow explains, “[Creating the database] was a lot harder than I thought…inevitably, it will change a lot over the coming weeks as people fill in the gaps which are more extensive on relays. I am excited about the option to look at the ‘season’ including both solos and relays together. Lots of interesting analysis to follow.”

To view the database, visit here.

Critchlow writes, “English Channel Relays are an unique team experience. The long training programme; the first cold water swims together; the two-hour qualification; and then the actual swim itself. It really brings to life the expression ‘the team is only as strong as its weakest link’…but the experience – and the team that you do it with – will live with you for a lifetime. It is for this reason that I have felt for a long time that there ought to be a single integrated database to celebrate ‘the oldest’; ‘he first sisters’; the ‘Aussie Backstrokers’, and all the charities that have benefited from English Channel Relays.

However – and it is a BIG ‘however’ – there are 6 people in a standard relay. It has taken me 16 years to get some form of ‘stability’ and ‘factual accuracy’ into the English Channel Solo Database – and, stating the obvious, a solo only has one swimmer in it! I spend endless hundreds of hours each year trawling the internet and reaching out to swimmers to confirm all the details of their swims (and in the process collecting hordes of fascinating personal stories). To attempt the same for Relays is plain suicidal…

…and so this is my Christmas 2020 gift to you all: in a year that has seen such challenges, personal sadness and huge heroics, it feels like the right time to release my first ever version of the English Channel Relay Database – and to start the journey of refining and enhancing it with the help of you, the Relay swimmers

English Channel Relay Database: here. For much more fun facts and analytical observations on the English Channel swimming history, visit Critchlow’s website here.

Ned Denison interviewed Critchlow upon his induction in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame on WOWSA Live earlier this year [see above].

Copyright © 2008 – 2020 by World Open Water Swimming Association
Steven Munatones