Australian to attempt to become first person to swim the Channel in winter
Will be interesting to watch...
This December, 46-year-old extreme swimmer, Sam Penny, will battle through numbingly cold water, freezing winds and physical exhaustion in an attempt to become the first person to swim the English Channel in winter.
If successful, the Australian cheese monger and father of four will smash the current record for the ‘latest swim’ of the Channel, which currently stands at 3 November. No one has ever attempted a crossing in the winter months since the first successful crossing of the English Channel by Captain Matthew Webb in 1875.
Despite a record of world-class achievements in the water, including a successful solo crossing of the Channel in 2018, Sam remains humble, stating: “there is a good chance I won’t make it, but someone has to be the first to try it. If you ain’t the lead dog, the scenery never changes.
“This may seem crazy, but this is just another step up from my previous goals. My philosophy is simple. I aim to be better than I was yesterday and always have a goal to aim for. Just as long as your goal is bigger than your last one, you will be on your way to achieving greatness.”
The swim will be governed by the Channel Swimming Association, which will require Sam to wearing nothing more than a pair of trunks, goggles and a swim cap, despite water temperatures likely to be around 10 degrees and the air temperature ranging between 0 and 7 degrees.
In preparation for these conditions, Sam swam the channel in 2018 and this year he completed an Ice Mile in water 3.9 degree water. He has also spent countless hours sitting in a chest freezer of freezing water to acclimatise himself to the chilling waters of the Channel in December.
Sam arrived in the UK on the 1 December and will further acclimatise to the conditions prior to his record-breaking attempt when the weather is most suitable._
Looks like it was called between 3 to 4 hours.
Brave venture all the same.
My daydream is an English Channel relay... a solo if the stars align.... But in summer, not winter, thank you!
Can only imagine what kind of conditions churn up when winter weather, cold, and chop are factored in. However good a swimmer one is, that's a HUGE challenge!
Wishing him a good recovery!
It’s not that I don’t think a winter EC is possible.... (a couple of swimmers come to mind) but:
There is nothing in the press release blurbs that conveyed a serious training regimen (one that moved incrementally toward this goal) had been undertaken.
At least Sam had the presence of mind to get out before damaging himself.
...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.
Apparently he is a YouTube star. "Chats from the Chest Freezer." ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
I agree w DB.
When I read the info on a fb post, the thought that immediately came to mind was a quote by Lynne Cox, answering a reporter's question about her Bering Strait swim,
Paraphrasing from memory:
"How did you train for this swim?"
To which Lynne replied,
"I've been training for this swim for 30 years."
Sure, someone had to be the first attempt.
And that is cool and respectable.
But, I think it cheapens it by not preparing to a realistic degree.
And, in my mind it begs the question, was being the 'first to attempt" the real goal?
'swim the Channel in winter'.
Winter starts 21 December. This would have been a (late) Autumn swim. Still phenomenal if successful, but words matter.
So, for the record: the first attempt at a Channel winter crossing hasn't even been realised yet.
Also, what I would like to know: is it the swimmer himself who makes the 'winter' claim, or the media outlet (outdoorswimmer.com)? Did he himself only claim to make an attempt at the 'latest in the year' crossing? It makes all the difference for his credibility in my view.
In my knowledge from Chinese tradition, winter starts at 立冬, which in this year is 7th November, and 21st / 22nd December is 冬至 (winter solstice) which is the day of the shortest daylight in winter and an important festival for family reunion (做冬) which is even more important than New Year (冬大過年)
I don't know where the 'winter' claim started but I know that in the UK, where I grew up, the new seasons started on the 21st of the quarter, so winter starts on 21 Dec, as you say. But in Australia, where I now live and where Sam lives, we tend to say the seasons start on the 1st of each quarter, i.e. 1 Dec. So southern summer/ northern winter is Dec, Jan, Feb. I don't think that claim affects his credibility though.
12/22 and 12/1 are both legitimate start dates for "winter":
On the dates debate, this is something me (born in Ireland) and my wife (born in US) have debated for many years. Per above my wife claims winter is on the Dec 21st while the Irish weather office says the following
Spring begins on the first of March and continues until the end of May. ...
Summer begins on the first of June and continues until the end of August. ...
Autumn begins on the first of September and continues until the end of November. ...
Winter starts on the first of December and continues until the end of February.
On the actual topic of the swim, it did appear that he was less than focused on the swim itself versus the claim.
"Despite a record of world-class achievements in the water..."
I can't find him in the DB... just curious, does anyone know what marathon swims he has done?
Looks like he swam the channel last summer.
Sam Penny unsuccessful in first winter crossing attempt of English Channel
Ok, the winter specific term controversy is in my head now, as a swimmer and word geek . . . and has been for a few days now, thank you. . . Do we specify spring and fall swims in any sense? Could we consider a summer and non-summer designation? Off-season? What about the Olympics? Does anyone consider Spring Training to be real baseball, or do we leave it to the Boys of Summer?
Given the global nature of Marathon swimming, dates need to be the main clarifier. It will matter more to some than others, so the documentation will serve to bridge any gap between the words that matter and how different people use them. And articles written by non-swimmers may not always reflect a swimmer reality- but it starts the conversation. I just had to cut a swim fifty yards from an ice mile. . . not official winter, but my Christmas tree was up and there was snow, so I'm willing to say I was winter swimming. Certainly, that is a local perception. A December Channel attempt? Speaks for itself.
Love this..l but we also need to consider the opposite happens in the Southern Hemisphere