Swindon Dolphin’s Alex Chantler has been selected for a team of eight swimmers from the Bristol area who aim to break the world record for the youngest team ever to swim the English Channel.
Alex, who trains six times a week with Swindon Dolphin, was spotted swimming in an Open Water event in July 2009 at Henleaze Lake in Bristol. He won the 11/12 year old event and a few days later received a letter inviting him to the trials for the Bristol- based English Channel Swim Team (BEST). After completing various open-water trials in Bristol, Bournemouth and Clevedon salt water lake, Alex is delighted to have been selected for the team.
The 12 year-old swimmers will cross the Channel as a relay, swimming from Dover for an hour each at a time, until they reach France some 24 miles later. Only six of the eight selected swimmers will swim; two are reserves. The swim is scheduled for 17 August 2010, setting off at 3am and is expected to take somewhere between 12 and 15 hours, although could take up to 20 hours dependent on tides and weather. The swimmers will not be able to wear wet-suits, only swimming costumes, hats and goggles.
The youngest-relay record is currently held by six boys from Tunbridge Wells, who swam in 1968. Swimmers must be 12 years old before they can swim across the channel as a relay, and 16 years to swim solo (Alex’s next target).
As part of the team Alex must raise money for the swim and for the two charities supported by the project, Children’s Hospices UK and National Surf Life-saving. After the event he will be giving talks in local schools about his experience, encouraging other children to take up a sport (perhaps swimming at Swindon Dolphin).
Alex swims in the Junior Olympic Squad and his coach is Tessa Farr.
For more information on this exciting project, visit www.bestswim.co.uk