Taunton Prep School children hope to become the youngest relay team to swim the English Channel beating the 2019 world record holders from the same school. Aged around 12, they will face jellyfish, tides and sea temperatures of around 18 degrees to swim the 21 miles from Dover to Cap Griz Nez this summer.
The children are being trained in the school swimming pool and in the sea in Dorset, Somerset, Devon and Cornwall. They will begin their challenge when weather conditions allow.
Relay team member Erin said: “Swimming the Channel is a great opportunity, and it will be really fun. I’m a bit nervous about the jellyfish but I know that the teachers will keep us safe.”
Swimming the Channel is a great opportunity, and it will be really fun. I’m a bit nervous about the jellyfish but I know that the teachers will keep us safe
Fellow swimmer Isobel said: “I’ll go in the water for an hour then come out and sleep for about five hours and then get woken up to go again for an hour.”
Much of the swimming will be done overnight. The team are being trained by Taunton Prep school teacher and swimming coach Hamish McCarthy. An Army veteran, who organised similar challenges for the military and wounded service personnel, he is training the team in long distance swimming up to four times a week.
He said: “These children are dedicated, courageous and strong young people who prove that age is no barrier to achievement. They continually do themselves, their families, and Taunton Prep School proud.
“This has been an incredible journey for them and I’m sure there will be huge celebrations when they reach France!”
Taunton School is a co-educational independent day and boarding school for children aged 0-18 years.
Founded in 1847, the school’s 56-acre site is home to five separate schools: a nursery, a pre-preparatory school, a prep school, senior school and an international school.
For more information: Taunton Prep School
You might be interested in this feature about encouraging women in sport