Triumphant Traversee De La Manche En Papillon

There are some things that are attainable in the open water. Work hard enough, sacrifice enough, stay focused long enough, and it can generally get done.

But then there are other swims that are simply Barraesque. Swim like 1000 meters @ 0ºC or three-way channel crossings are examples of these feats attainable by only those most talented and committed.

Swimming 34 km butterfly across the English Channel is one of those Barraesque achievements. Like the Kaihōgyō ritual in Japan (read here), the attempts at swimming butterfly across the most famous stretch of water is reserved for only a handful of remarkable individuals.

Only twice before in history has 34 km of double-arm butterfly been achieved across the English Channel: by Vicki Keith in 1989 in 23 hours 33 minutes and Julie Bradshaw completed the second butterfly crossing in 2002 in 14 hours 18 minutes.

But Sylvain Estadieu put together an all-star crew for his all-butterfly crossing of the English Channel today and became the first man to cross the Channel in the most macho of strokes. The Flying Frenchman, as he is alternatively known, enjoyed the company of Mike Ball, Lisa Cummins, Tanya Harding, Michael Oram, James Willi, Donal Buckley, and Zoe Sadler on his escort boat, all with front-row seats and responsibilities in Estadieu‘s 16 hour 42 minute butterfly crossing of the English Channel.

Congratulations to the personable butter flyer with one of the most appropriate nicknames in the open water swimming world.

Copyright © 2013 by Open Water Swimming
Steven Munatones