Neil Faudemer completes Guernsey to Jersey swim at fifth attempt

Neil Faudemer has become the second person in history to swim from Guernsey to Jersey, in a time of 14 hours 57 minutes. This was Faudemer’s fifth attempt at the 20-mile crossing in four years. The first person to successfully complete the swim was Ruth Oldham in 1964.
“No man had ever crossed the Channel Island divide,” says Faudemer. “I was determined to be the first. After being the first to swim from Sark to Jersey I thought I could take on the world – little did I know what I was letting myself in for!”

The first attempt saw him swept away 500 yards short of Jersey below Grosnez. The second swim ended when he was pulled from the water unconscious with hypothermia. Attempt three ended with severe seasickness and just a month ago severe jellyfish stings cut short attempt four.

“I never stopped believing I could do it,” says Faudemer. “I just needed a bit of luck to go with all my training.”
That bit of luck began at 11.45am on Friday 21 August, when Faudemer set off from St Martins point in Guernsey with his crew Sarah Pierce, Sports Minister Steve Pallet, Wendy Trehiou and pilot Mathew Clarke.
“It is an extremely challenging crossing as it is cross tidal and can only be achieved on small summer neap tides,” says Faudemer. “There is always a very heavy swell to deal with between the Islands – on mine it was rolling at 9ft.”
Pilot Matt Clarke agrees: “This is easily the most technically challenging swim I have ever been asked to pilot.”

After swimming for eight hours, the coast of Jersey was in sight. Unfortunately the jellyfish also came to the surface.
“The jellyfish concentration and stings at hour 11 made me go very cold. It was like swimming in a spiders web – horrible. I had to take five minutes at a time to get through the swarm, which lasted an hour.”
Faudemer didn’t just have to deal with stings on his body – he also managed to swallow a jellyfish. “I now don’t need botox!” he jokes.
Shortly before 3am Faudemer swam into St Ouens bay, where Wendy Trehiou canoed alongside him to shore. “I always believed I could do it. I just needed a good swim and that extra piece of luck. I have so many people who have crewed and supported me I would like to thank each and everyone of them,” said Faudemer after the swim.
“Walking ashore on St Ouens beach in the early hours after almost 15 hours of swimming I was quite emotional with loved ones and friends to greet me. It has been quite a journey over the last four years. We will celebrate immediately after the Coniston swim in the Lake District.”

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I created Outdoor Swimmer in 2011 (initially as H2Open Magazine) as an outlet for my passion for swimming outdoors. I've been a swimmer and outdoor swimmer for as long as I remember. Swimming has made a huge difference to my life and I want to share its joys and benefits with as many people as possible. I am also the author of Swim Wild & Free: A Practical Guide to Swimming Outdoors 365 a Year and I provide one-to-one support to swimmers through Swim Mentoring.