Guildford City swimmer tackles English Channel
28 September 2011
Just weeks after completing the swim as a part of a relay team, City swimmer Jim Boucher has crossed the English Channel in his second successful solo effort.
The challenge is awaiting ratification by the Channel Swimming & Piloting Federation, but it looks likely that at 50 years old Jim will be crowned the oldest Irish swimmer to complete the task.
The English Channel was fairly quiet during the night but a jellyfish sting around four hours in reminded him that he wasn’t alone! The swim was largely uneventful from there on, except for a close encounter with a Polish freighter, giving Jim a straight forward swim towards the French coast.
A strong tide meant that Jim was forced to swim an extra mile than originally planned, entering an area knows as the ‘Graveyard of Channel Swims’, a common place at which swimmers lose faith and heart in their challenge, with too much effort required to complete them. Jim’ crew kept him motivated and fed and he knew that with the tide turning to the north-east he would soon be heading back past the lighthouse and on to French soil.
The final stages added a further two hours to the journey but swimming partner Rory Fitzgerald was soon in the water to “chaperone” Jim’ swim into the beach just inside Wissant Bay. As with many successful Channel swims there were a couple of bemused French swimmers on the beach to greet Jim as he first touched the sand then stumbled beyond the high-water line to claim his solo success after 16 hours and 51 minutes in the water.
There was time for a few pictures before Rory led Jim back into the surf for an emotional swim back to Sea Satin where he was welcomed by the rest of his support team, Ellery McGowan and Jim’s younger son Michael, both of whom had worked all through the swim to keep him fed and motivated.
Congratulations to Jim from everyone at Surrey Sports Park!
Surrey Sports Park is the home Guildford City Swimming Club, making use of the 50m Olympic sized pool on a weekly basis.