The 2018 Champion of Champions was one of the most challenging in recent years. 20 mph winds, big chop and 14.7c water all contributed to tough conditions for swimmers, kayakers and safety personnel. At least there was no rain I said at one stage!
The statistics don’t lie and the 56% completion rate this year puts it leaner than 2013 which was at 67% and the toughest one in my recent memory since the swim has been held in Dover.
The Gents race was dominated by the effortless Dr. Nicholas Murch, a fellow veteran of a Geneva solo. He beat Arvids Friedenfelds by ca. 10 mins overall but it was Arvids who had emerged from the 3 miler victorious. Amazingly, there was only 32 seconds separating Arvids in 2nd place from Andrew Allum who finished 3rd – a very slim margin over such a long 9 mile swim!
The ladies race was led from start to finish by Georgia Amison with Samantha Poulsen chuffed to win her slate silver trophy and, veteran of the distance weekend, Hayley Pennington in 3rd. It was lovely to see all the support these and other swimmers received from family and helpers – it really does help to have a ‘buddy’ to help you prevail at this event.
It’s worth me pointing out that we were treated to a very close 1 mile swim at the end of the day where Nichola Murch beat husband Nick by 10 seconds & it was a shame she couldn’t find a baby sitter for the day to complete the event in its entirety so had to just settle for one swim. Well done Nichola and hope you return for the full 9 next year.
I would like to thank all the swimmers for their patience and understanding during the day in what were tough conditions. At one stage the buoy attached to the turn-boat uprooted its anchor and (as usual at this event) they started to drift. The safety boats sorted that and soon afterwards were called to remove a straying sailboat drifting onto our course. No-one lost their sense of humour and common sense generally prevailed.
Despite lots of organization behind the scenes beforehand the day itself went smoothly as I had a veritable army of brilliant volunteers. I generally drank Americanos with double cream, ate ice cream and applied sun lotion – that tan doesn’t do itself you know! I really can’t begin to thank our 9 determined kayakers and Julie Coleman on her brilliant rescue board enough. Their dedication to the cause ensured
that the event cracked on punctually. Being on the turn-boat was a challenge as ever and timekeepers, beach crews all made everything seamless with everyone wearing yellow dry-fit ‘CREW’ T-shirts for the first time.
I cannot thank my wife Emily enough for helping me behind the scenes and ensuring all the merchandise of lovely red t-shirts turned up on time.
Adrian Rotchell proved to be a whizz on excel with his laptop and ensured that the presentation was underway before 6pm therefore people could get home at a decent hour.
Certificates and world famous Champion of Champions red swim caps were presented to the 30 successful finishers (out of the 54 who had started). Andy Truscott went home with a warm red Champion of Champions hat to mark him travelling further than other swimmers from Jersey. Nathan Meadows and Cath Pendleton also walked away with the prize of a red swim hat to mark their swims as those having suffered the conditions the longest. Cath, in particular, diced with the cut off times beating the 3 mile cut off by only 90 seconds and the 1 mile by 1 second! The warm glow of achievement will no doubt sit with them and the other finishers for years.
Look forward to see you all on the circuit or at next year’s swim which is usually the 3rd Saturday in June. Pray for less wind and bring your sense of humour again as the buzz this year was simply superb!
Swim Secretary – Champion of Champions and Distance Weekends