George Thornton English Channel Swim : Round 2; Day 4

To start, a couple of news articles.

First is from the local Fort Collins paper:

Second is from KOA Radio: listen to the attached MP3 file.

It was a beautiful day in Dover. Sunny and warm, calm winds. We were excited to track 11 Channel swim boats start out with simmers, including at least 1 relay. Most of the boats followed an unusually direct route across, reporting flat water and no currents until they approached the French coast. Six of the boats were packed close together over the final half of the course, and we spent much of the afternoon watching their icons travel across the computer screen. Ultimately, 7 solo swimmers and 1 relay team completed the crossing.

We followed the Sea Leopard in particular, as it was piloting Kent Nicholas from Arizona. The long-distance, open-water swimming community in the US is about as big as you’d expect, and so most of the folks who have swum, or plan to swim the English Channel know (of) each other. It was fun to greet Kent and to congratulate him on his success (11 hours, 42 minutes) when he returned to Dover Marina. We then met up with him again at the White Horse pub, where he wrote his name on the wall as is the Channel swimmers’ custom. See the attached photos.

Seeing the calm seas and nice weather, tracking the swimmers, and sharing in Kent’s success boosted our spirits. I think Dad, in particular, was buoyed by the day’s swimming successes. (Note: my puns are always intended.) It seemed to make the chance for a swim more real, and seemed to dramatically increase his chances for success.

While we had originally thought that Friday (tomorrow) was going to get blown out by the weather, our boat pilot Eddie just put a message out that he’s starting his next swimmer off at 6:30am! That’s fantastic news. If the weather continues to hold, Dad could now go as early as Sunday. All of your prayers, crossed fingers, communes with Mother Nature, and other cosmic discussions are working!

Dad has been swimming every day. Relatively short swims, to stretch out and get acclimated. He went for an early swim this morning … and then for a second swim when Mom decided she wanted to go in. Dad thinks the water is warm; Mom thinks it’s cold.

Actually, the water is much warmer this year than last. Dad has been training for, and anticipating 56-57F water temps, but the Channel is currently 62-66F. Those extra few degrees makes a world of
difference, especially over the amount of time that Dad will be in the water. All the more reason to expect success!

Today we shopped for swimming supplies, and then ate lunch atop the White Cliffs. We could see the calm waters, and France appeared so close! See the attached photo.

I thought I might discuss tides and other fun technical topics today, but let’s save those for a relatively slow day.




One Response

  1. Hi George, Louise and Chuck, I’m so excited for you I can hardly stand it ! I’m floating/dog paddling in the Yampa River with 6 dogs, swimming laps in an old abandoned hot springs pool on Juniper Mountain, and bathing in a windmill stock tank for water thrills. So proud of you George and such an honor to have shared a lane with you !

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