Solo versus Relay Records in the Channels

Solo versus Relay Records in the Channels

Comparing the fastest channel solo crossing records with the 6-person relay crossing records around the world is interesting.

The record times for a single swimmer and the record for six swimmers is actually not that great. When I realized this, it was surprising to me,” observed Steven Munatones.

For example, in the English Channel, the solo crossing record from England to France is held by Australia’s Trent Grimsey in 6 hours 55 minutes. The team of Jay WilkersonChad HundebyMartha JahnKaren Burton, and Dirk Bouma set the record of 6 hours 52 minutes – only 3 minutes faster – on their two-way relay crossing of 14 hours 18 minutes. Chad was a world champion and the rest of the team were either world championship medalist or were world-class swimmers for sure.

In the Catalina Channel, Penny Dean set the record in 7 hours 15 minutes in 1976 and 35 years later, the team of Hank WiseLyle NalliTed BrambleMatty MitchellParks Wesson and Lexie Kelly swam in the same direction in 6 hours 53 minutes.

In the Molokai Channel, there are greater differences in the solo and relay times – that seem to fit my expectations comparing solo versus relays. Attila Mányoki swam from Molokai to Oahu in 12 hours 2 minutes while The Veterans including Karen SchmidtAmy DantzlerBrent BlackmanBill IrelandBruce Thomas, and Dianne Gleason swam across the Molokai Channel in 9 hours 53 minutes. That is a 2 hour 9 minute differential over 42 kilometers.

But the solo and relay times around Manhattan Island are different. Oliver Wilkinson set the solo record in 5 hours 44 minutes, but I doubt any 6-person relay has been faster than that solo time by Oliver. I don’t remember any relays that have broken 6 hours in MIMS history. The Marathon Swimmers Federation has the historical data of relays around Manhattan.

The solo record holder for Asian equivalent of 20 Bridges (or the old Manhattan Island Marathon Swim) is Alex Fong in the HK360 Swim in 10 hours 43 minutes. The relay record is 8 hours 30 minutes recently set by Jimmy Kwok Chun HeiChan Pak HinCalvin Chan Tsun HinAnson Chan Tsz HinAlan Wong Wai Lun, and Chan Yin Ban in 2021.”

Photo above courtesy of Kaia Hedlund shows The Veterans and The Youngsters (Terence YoungBrian KingMitchell DegeusJamison GroveBrittney Yim, and Erin Yamamoto) on Sandy Beach on Oahu. Videos of various scenes across the Channel of Bones are posted here.

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