‘Keep Calm and Channel On’

A team of four recently formed a relay and swam the English Channel to raise funds for four different charities. Kate Ribeiro dos Santos swam the first relay leg, raising an outstanding £5540 for our cause. Here, Kate shares her experience and how the team kept each other motivated through the night.

We started at 11.41pm from Samphire Hoe, near Folkstone.

I started the relay which was probably the most surreal swim of my life – jumping into the sea in the middle of the night with a couple of flashing lights on my head and costume!

The first few hours in the dark were very gritty, mainly due to sea sickness but also the cold and lack of sleep.

Two of the team were very ill, despite having taken all the medication we could have taken, and it took incredible metal strength for them in the water. We saw that another relay failed after 4 hours due to sea sickness. However, once the sun came up, the sea became calmer, we doubled up on the medication and things got a lot more enjoyable!

We saw loads of cargo ships and ferries, as well as 10 other Channel teams out in the Channel with us. I had an amazing 3rd swim covering nearly 7km due to the current and we made great time.

The reason for the slightly long route of the swim is due to tides and currents. Only super fast swimmers can go straight across, the rest of us need to take more of an ‘S’ shape. Finally, Ness brought us in to France with an epic last swim and we finished at 2.41pm UK time.

What a day and what an incredible team! I’m not sure I have ever done an event which relies more on teamwork than this.

If anyone had stopped or got out, we would have had to turn back. Everyone is equal and has to pull their own weight – literally!

I have smashed the target I never thought I would have reached in the first place – £5,540! I hope the Foundation are as happy as I am!

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