English Channel Swim 2005




Weather & Links



Neal readies himself on the boat just before 1 a.m. GMT by rubbing on Vaseline to prevent chaffing. Unfortunately he forgot to get it on his thighs, which would cause significant pain later on.

Neal jumped into the water at Dover, England, at 1:10 a.m. on August 10, 2005. The light stick hanging like a tail from his Speedos enabled the boat to see him in the dark.

Although the early swim was done in the dark, he was able to see the lights on the boat, as well as lights on the numerous enormous ships that were moving through the world's busiest shipping channel.

By sunrise, Neal had already been swimming for several hours. The English Channel is the busiest shipping channel in the world, as witnessed by the ships in the distance.

Neal smiles early in the swim.

Neal's brother Eric is happy to be up at 4 a.m., cheering Neal on.

Neal and the crew crossed the path of many of these container ships traveling at very high speeds through the channel.

Neal took about 54,000 strokes during the swim.

Neal continues his quest for France alongside the boat.

Kevin Murphy has swum the channel 32 times, third most by any person in history. Fortunately, he was Neal's observer during the swim, assuring that he conformed to all rules for a qualified channel swim.

Hey, that ferry is kind of close!

This is Cap Gris Nez, the closest point of France to England, and Neal's goal. Calais is a few miles to the left out of view. Neal landed just to the left of this point, between Cap Gris Nez and Wissant. The currents were strongest here. Whereas Neal was swimming two miles an hour before, here he slowed to one mile an hour, pushed back by the current.

Neal's brother, Eric, joined Neal for two brief swims. Eric is in the red cap.

Neal and Eric head towards France.

The boat cannot come to shore as there is no port here. Neal can be seen in the distance (photo enlarged below).

Enlarged photo with Eric waving his arms, as directed by the boat, to signal that Neal had come ashore so the clock of the swim time could be stopped. Neal struggles ashore on the right. Sitting on a rock watching them is a startled German tourist, who asked "Did you swim from the boat?" Eric replied "No, he swam from England."

Neal comes aboard after conquering the channel.

Angie welcomes Neal back onto the boat after the swim.

Copyright 2005 by Neal Rayner. All Rights Reserved.