English Channel Relay Record: An extreme swim for the extreme challenges facing our oceans

On 2 December six swimmers from the Serpentine Swimming Club: Kevin Blick, Dani Lobo, Deirdre Ward, Rob Ouldcott, Boris Mavra (Team ‘Cold Turkey’ Captain) and Mark Johansen, set a new record for the latest English Channel Relay Crossing in the year, in a time of 13 hours and 18 minutes.* Their boat was Sea Satin and their pilot Lance Oram who was joined by Mark Oram. Shout out also to Anita Goyo, who trained for the swim, but was unfortunately unable to take part on the day. Full details will be in the January edition of the magazine but for now the key stats are: Air temperature: cold; Sea Temperature: cold. 

Why undertake an extreme challenge like this? To raise awareness of the extreme challenge facing our Oceans – plastic pollution. An idea put forward by Kevin,

Already in the English Channel, 1 in 3 fish have plastic in them and by 2050 its predicted that the weight of plastic in the ocean will be greater than the weight of fish. Albatrosses will fly miles for 10days just to return to feed their young a bit of plastic, its heart-breaking,  It’s the greatest threat in history to our oceans in a relatively short time and it may already be too late. We need to fundamentally change our behaviour and not just recycle plastic which has its own issues, but eradicate it where we can. The next generation for sure will pay dearly for our mistakes

8 million tonnes of plastic is thrown away each year and washed out to sea. It takes centuries to break down. It’s eaten by marine creatures, and it’s in our food chain. As this powerful documentary describes, ‘your seafood supper may have a synthetic garnish’ – the full consequences of on our health and the planet, we are yet to fully understand. 

To raise awareness of this issue the team would like us all to watch and share this documentary, which is a wake up call and rallying cry to reverse the tide of plastic in our Oceans.

What else can you do? ” Get informed and raise awareness by sharing the info that’s out there on social media. If you have to use plastics, recycle them. Change your habits. Stop buying plastics and food that is unnecessarily packaged. Don’t litter. Help with beach litter patrols. Don’t be a twat! Do your bit,” says Mark. 

More insights on this epic swim advocacy adventure to follow…

*The latest solo swim was completed by Howard James on 3 November 2016 in 11 hours and 38 minutes.

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Outdoor Swimmer is the magazine for outdoor swimmers by outdoor swimmers. We write about fabulous wild swimming locations, amazing swim challenges, swim training advice and swimming gear reviews.