English Channel Facts

• Approximately the same number of people have swum the English Channel as climb Mount Everest every year
• The Channel separates England from France and the rest of Europe, and at its narrowest, the Channel is 21 statute miles
• The route leaves from Dover, England on the southeast coast, to Calais, France (swimmers are no longer allowed to swim from France to England)
• Tides and currents mean that most swimmers will swim closer to 30 miles to reach the French coast
• The average swim is between 13 and 14 hours
• It is the busiest commercial waterways in the world, with ferries, freighters and fishing boats, so the pilot boat escorting the swimmer is critically important
• The Channel can only be swum during July, August and September, as its temperatures peak between 58 and 63 degrees then
• Wetsuits are not allowed in certified swims
• In addition to the tides, currents, traffic and the cold, another challenge is the stinging jellyfish
• In recent years, approximately 200 people attempt the swim, and roughly 100 complete it
• Since the first person swam it in 1985, about 1,200 people have successfully completed the swim
• Of those 1,200, fewer than 50 are over 50 years of age
• The English Channel is considered one of the very few elite endurance athletic events in the world

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