Two teams of swimmers from Mourant Ozannes have completed what is believed to be a ‘first’ for Channel Island long distance swimming, completing a simultaneous inter-island relay challenge on Saturday 8 September 2012.
The teams achieved their remarkable feat last weekend in a combined time of just over 24 hours, with the Jersey to Guernsey leg swum in 11 hours 40 minutes 37 seconds and the team from Guernsey reaching the Jersey coast in 12 hours 20 minutes. It’s thought to be the first time ever that the Jersey to Guernsey direction leg has been completed.
The Jersey team of Craig Swart, Thomas Morgan, Henry Brandts-Giesen, James Ruane, Simon Gould, and Giles Corbin left Plemont after sunrise at 7.07am on Saturday morning. Each team member swam for one hour stints punctuated by in-water high five handovers. Conditions were slightly choppy with wind over tide and also misty (with Sark disappearing in and out of view several times) but the conditions became almost perfect glassy smooth by 1pm, with Giles Corbin, whose idea it was to undertake the challenge, eventually touching land in a small rocky cove just north of St Martin’s Point at 6.47pm around sunset. None of these swimmers wore wetsuits.
The Guernsey team of Sam Williams, James Le Gallez, Sandy Ozanne, Paul Waldron and Mark Torode from Mourant Ozannes, joined by David Honey (Guernsey), Jersey triathlete Dan Halksworth and James Briggs, a trainee doctor at the Jersey General Hospital, started their attempt from Jerbourg at 6.03am, finally reaching Grosnez in Jersey at 6.23pm that evening.
Both teams encountered jellyfish in local waters. The Channel Islands Airsearch plane, Lion’s Pride, used our prior coastguard notification as an exercise in conjunction with the lifeboat crew in spotting swimmers in the water, which made several low passes over the swimmers.
The attempt was organized to raise money for the Jersey Stroke Association and the Guernsey Stroke Association and the success was hailed by Jonathan Rigby, Global Managing Partner of Mourant Ozannes who said: ‘This is a remarkable achievement by two fantastic teams. To be the first to complete a simultaneous swim between the Islands in each direction, while raising funds for two very important charities, is something of which we can all be very proud.’
The attempt would not have been possible without the support crews from both Islands, which included guard boats and kayakers to ensure the swimmers remained on course and safe at all times (see editors’ notes for details).
Due to the weather dependent nature of the challenge, sponsorship was only opened shortly before it took place. Pledges are still being encouraged for these worthy charities, and should members of the public wish to do so they can email Giles Corbin in Jersey, or Mark Torode in Guernsey, or make a cheque out to the Jersey Stroke Association or the Guernsey Stroke Association and post it respectively to Giles Corbin at 22 Grenville Street, St Helier, Jersey JE4 8PX or Mark Torode at PO Box 186, 1 Le Marchant Street, St Peter Port, Guernsey GY1 4HP.