2017 English Channel swim

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Bristol Channel Swim results

 On Monday September 19, 2022 I had a successful swim of Bristol Channel (16 miles) following the rules of the Bristol Channel Swimming Association and the Marathon Swimmers Federation in a time of 12 hours and 55 minutes at the age of 71 years and 228 days old.   Bristol Channel is known for having the second largest tidal flow in the world. It is located between Wales and England.   Tides can be very fast and turbulent causing a swimmer to swim much farther.   The Original Triple Crown of Marathon Swimming includes the English Channel (England to France),  the North Channel (Ireland to Scotland), and Bristol Channel (Wales to England).    This historic route chosen to complete the Original Triple Crown is the Porthcawl, Wales to Glenthorne, England also known as the Kevin Murphy and Ted Keenan route (both legends in the marathon swim world).   There are several other swim routes from Wales to England but the Porthcawl to Glenthorne was chosen as the iconic route to earn the Triple Crown.

 This swim entailed much planning and organization.....checking moon phase, tidal range, weather forecast, in addition to booking boat pilots, observer, and crew.     I met with boat pilot Ceri Davies from Swansea and he said that I needed to finish my swim in 13 hours or less due to expected strong tidal flow or my swim would be stopped.   Nothing like a little pressure to swim faster and pray for great conditions. There were two swimmers on that tide:  Martyn Webster from Switzerland and myself.   Martyn's boat pilot was Ceri Davies who navigated Martyn to a successful finish.   My pilots Aston, Eliot, and Dave had a smaller craft (rib) and they charted my course.    My independent observer was Tom Chapman from the Bristol Channel Swimming Association.  He did an incredible job closely monitoring my swim.   An observer must document many aspects of a swim for it to be ratified.....he needed to monitor/document my progress with photos/videos, take air and water temps,  wind speed, stroke count, and that I followed all the rules of marathon swimming.   I would highly recommend any swimmer who wants to attempt a swim across Bristol Channel to contact his association:  bridgesR4wimps@gmail.com

For a pilot,  I contacted the company Bristol Channel Swimming (Ceri Davies).   I chose this company due to their team of experts in boating and safety.   I would highly recommend them to any swimmer looking for a highly skilled pilot to help them safely cross Bristol channel.     Contact information: Http://www.bristolchannelswimming.co.uk

I had booked this swim several month ago.   With the untimely death of Queen Elizabeth II,  many mourned the loss of this great queen.   Her funeral coincided with my swim date of Monday, Sept 19.  Out of respect for her, all onboard honored the two-minute moment of silence at 11:58 am.   My crew Jean Murdoch-Gallant blew her whistle to let me know the start of this tribute.   In addition, prior to my swim Jean wrote "Queen Elizabeth II" on my right arm.     And, keeping with my tradition of having my brothers' names "Robbie and Johnny" on my left arm.

This swim was successful due to teamwork.   My crew (sister-in-law Jean) monitored every moment of my swim.  She did an outstanding job.    She gave nourishment of Maple syrup (tapped from my trees behind my home in Maine) mixed with Poland Spring Water.   My feed schedule was:  first feed at two hours and every hour thereafter.  Boat pilots carefully charted my course to meet the route requirements.  Tom (observer) made sure that all the rules were followed.    Many thanks to all of them.    I set a record for the Oldest to complete the Original Triple Crown of Marathon Swimming, the first American to complete it as well as the Oldest to swim Bristol Channel (Porthcawl to Glenthorne route).

Many thanks to my husband Jim, children Sarah and Tom, and grandchildren for their ongoing love and support.   Thank you to Tom Chapman for posting frequent updates to Facebook for my family to see my progress during my swim and for creating the video of my swim (posted under video section).   A special thank you to Fergal Somerville and his wife Mags of Dublin, Ireland for their support after my swim.  Also, thank you to Martyn Webster of Switzerland for his recommendation to swim the length of Lake Zurich (16 miles) in Switzerland next summer.  Lake Zurich has been on my lengthy bucket list of swims for the past few years and it's part of the Stillwater Eight Challenge.   (Above photo credit, Martyn Webster)

Also, I would like to thank the Westbrook Community Center's pool director John Smith for his dedication to the sport of swimming.


Thursday, April 28, 2022

Sea of Galilee swim results


On April 25, 2022 I had a successful swim crossing of the length of the Sea of Galilee (AKA Lake Kinneret, Lake Kinnereth, and Lake Tiberias) in Israel in a time of 8 hours and 22 minutes (pending ratification) setting a record for the oldest woman to swim the length.   The distance was approximately 13 miles.  The Sea of Galilee is recognized as the lowest fresh water lake in the world at 686 feet below sea level.  

    This swim was by far one of my favorite swims in my extensive swimming career due to it's rich Biblical history and scenic location.   In addition,  this swim is part of the Still Water Eight Challenge (includes Lake Ontario in Canada, Lake Tahoe in USA, Loch Ness in Scotland, Lake Taupo in New Zealand, Lake Malawi in Africa, Lake Titicaca in Peru, Lake Zurich in Switzerland, and Sea of Galilee in Israel).  I have completed four of the eight..... Lake Windermere was part of the original challenge and I completed that in 2018 but was later removed due to revision of Challenge.   

For any swimmer to be successful it takes teamwork.    I had an incredible team:   My son Tom did a fantastic job closely monitoring my swim.  He provided nourishment of maple syrup and water every hour, and added electrolytes when needed.  He was cheering me on the whole distance.     Observer Guy Cohen of the Galilee Marathon Swimming Association (governing body of this swim) galileemsa@gmail.com was outstanding in every aspect of this swim.  I will always cherish his joyful smile and pure delight when I reached the finish line.  It is very obvious that Guy is passionate about marathon swimming and wants every swimmer to reach their goal.  His Association is knowledgeable about the rules and regulations of marathon swimming.   My boat Pilot Stas Schhpek was incredible....he plotted my route from North to South and kept me within the charted course.  He's an outstanding pilot...one of the best pilots I have had in my swimming career.  He is associated with  Wakeboard and Wakesurf School www.wakeboard.co.il.   The owner Lior Eliyahu  wakeisrael@gmail.comarranged a slot for me last year and he was very helpful in making recommendations on where to stay.  

 We stayed at the Ein Gev Holiday Resort resort@eingev.org.il in Ein Gev on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee only a few miles from Lior's marina.  This resort has breathtaking views of the lake, a swim zone for training, huge breakfast buffet included in price of room, and staff that are friendly and courteous.  I would highly recommend using a rental car while in Israel.   Taxi service and Uber is a challenge in this area of Israel.  

I want to thank my home team: my husband Jim (taking care of our kitten Molly), my daughter Sarah and grandchildren for their love and support.  A special thank you to Kirsten Read (swim instructor) for her many helpful tips in improving my stroke.   And, thank you to Westbrook Pool Director John Smith for his positive energy in promoting swimming.  A huge thank you to Tom, Guy, Stas, and Lior for helping me to reach my dream of swimming the length of the Sea Galilee.    

Contact information:   patgallant.charette@gmail.com

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Anacapa swim results

 On Saturday, September 18, 2021 I had a successful swim crossing from Anacapa Island to the California mainland (12.2 miles) in a time of 9 hours and 22 minutes.  The Santa Barbara Channel Swimming Association was the sanctioning body.   Peter Hayden was the official observer.  My boat pilot Captain Dawn Brooks and her crew Dana Brooks and Jerry Sellers (kayaker) did an amazing job to safely guide me across the Santa Barbara Channel.    My crew member, Jean Murdoch-Gallant (sister-in-law) was also instrumental in my success.   Jean watched every fine detail of my swim.   For any swimmer to be successful, they must have a great crew and I certainly did.  The Marathon Swimming Federation announced that I set a new record becoming the oldest person to swim the Santa Barbara Channel at the age of 70 years and 228 days.   The World Open Water Swimming Association announced that I set a record for the oldest person to complete the California Triple Crown of Marathon Swimming (includes Lake Tahoe and Catalina).  Many thanks to my family for their love and support. A special thank you to Yoko for being such a great friend.   I would like to thank swim coach Kirsten  Read for proving that a 70 year old can improve their swimming technique and become faster.   I plan to continue my marathon swims (I have a very long bucket list of swims) but all international swims are on hold until this pandemic subsides.   Wishing everyone to be happy and healthy!

Monday, August 5, 2019

Results of my Lake Memphremagog Swim

Wow!  I did not see the legendary mythical creature Memphre during my 25 mile swim of Lake Memphremagog but I felt the beast of that lake in the form of headwinds, adverse currents, rips (similar pull of riptides), and unexpected rapidly changing conditions.   I was fortunate to have the highly respected Phil White as my boat pilot/ observer.  He knows  that lake very well and he was able to successfully guide me to the finish line.   My sister-in-law Jean was my sole crew.....she went well beyond the expectations of being a crew member.   I could not have succeeded if it was not for the both of them.   When I started my swim shortly after 10pm on Wednesday night, conditions were perfect.....no wind, flat water, and water temp in the seventies.   After 3 hours of swimming,  I noticed that my feed plan of low carbohydrates was not giving me sufficient energy.   I was surprised by the lower than expected energy level because I was training for the past five months on a low carbohydrate lifestyle and  my swim training was going well on a low carb approach.   We had a backup plan of very high carbohydrates and we implemented it after 3 hours.   I quickly felt a surge in energy once I started to consume higher carbs.   I tried a new product called  “UnTapped” an organic maple syrup product.  It was fantastic and I plan to use this product on all future swims.
    Due to the Vermont air temperatures prior to my swim being near ninety, I decided to have electrolyte replacements added to my fluids to prevent dehydration.   The supplement was effective and I did not experience dehydration.  I was swimming well and expected an 18 hour to 20 hour finish.   But about two-thirds distance to the finish line, I felt spasms in my right latissimus dorsi (AKA lats).  As I continued swimming, it progressively got worse.  I noticed the only time I had extremely painful spasms was on my right arm recovery.  I tried other strokes like backstroke and breaststroke but they were not effective.   I didn’t want to quit because I felt fine except for my painful right lats.   As a marathon swimmer,  I had a backup plan to deal with this dilemma......one-arm freestyle and keep my right arm to my side.    It was a much slower stroke but at that point all I wanted was to finish my swim.  As the currents got stronger, I started to use my right arm as a modified “doggy paddle” and left arm in full stroke.  It was a pitiful sight to see but it worked.  I reached the finish line in 24 hours and 8 minutes late Thursday evening.  
   Records:  At the age of 68 years and 180 days, I became the Oldest Person to swim the 25 mile length following the Marathon Swimmers Federation rules.   Also, I became the Oldest Person to complete the Triple Crown of Lake Monster Swims.  And, slowest time to swim the length of Lake Memphremagog.   Swimming this lake was an adventure of a lifetime.   Again, my success was due to having a knowledgeable boat pilot and crew.
   After my swim,  I had the usual wobbly legs walking out of the water, clouded thinking, and mild nausea.   These are all typical adverse effects that marathon swimmers will experience  from swimming for very long hours.   However, I experienced distorted vision for one hour and then it resolved.   It was the most bizarre adverse effect.......as we traveled back by car to Vermont (I was not driving) I saw some beautiful shrubbery along the roadside.   As I turned my head to watch the center of the road, the identical image of  the shrubs were now in the middle of the road for about ten seconds and would disappear.   We drove through these images.   I looked toward the right side of the road again and saw a beautiful line of maple trees.   Then, as I moved my head to look at the center of the road, the identical image of maple trees were now in the middle of the road.   Very bizarre adverse effect!!!   Thankfully it cleared within the hour.   I knew that no shrubs or maple trees were actually in the road but my eyes were playing tricks on me.    My young 11 year old  grandson Trevor explained to me that he believed I had developed a temporary visual perception disorder that was caused by the repetitive motion while swimming.......face down in the darkness of the water then turn face to breathe and see an image, and repeat for 24 hours.    This back and forth motion of darkness, seeing an image, darkness, seeing an image for 24 hours caused my distorted perceptual vision.   It was a very unique experience.....glad it resolved.  I don’t know if Trevor made the right assumption but it sounds plausible to me.
    I would like to thank my husband Jim, children Sarah and Tom, grandkids, family and friends for their ongoing love and support.    A special thank you to my good friend and training partner Yoko.  And,  many thanks to  Phil White and my sister-in-law Jean for their incredible willingness to see me get to the finish line.....no matter how long it took.
  My next swim adventure will be sometimes in November or December.   I am scheduled for jury duty in October.   I will post my next swim once my jury duty has been completed.
     Please see my 3 minute video posted on my blog.   Thank you.

Contact information: patgallant.charette@gmail.com

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

It’s a Go!

Due to a recent change in weather, my swim will start tonight, Wednesday, July 31 at 11pm (Eastern Time Zone) from Newport, Vermont.  My boat pilot is the legendary Phil White.  He is highly respected and admired in the open water swim community.   His passion for promoting open water swimming is off the charts.  It’s a great honor to have him as my pilot.
   My Spot Tracker will post updates every 10 minutes during my swim,  click on the link below at 11pm tonight.     It is not activated until that time.  My sister-in-law Jean Murdoch-Gallant has been a fabulous crew member.   She is very well prepared to spend several hours observing my swim.   She will be monitoring my stroke count, feeds, etc.    Due to recent high air temperatures near 90 degrees and warm water of Lake Memphremagog,  we are prepared for possible hyperthermia.  Jean will be supplementing my liquids with electrolytes to prevent dehydration.  We have two coolers filled with ice (if needed).   Also,  I will be drinking plain water hourly.   I continue to plan to consume low carbohydrates during my feeds.  However, we have a backup plan of higher carbohydrates if needed.
   My swim will probably take 18+ hours to reach Magog, Canada.   If anticipated headwinds increase, my swim could add a few extra hours.
    Looking forward to this swim adventure.   Thank you to my family and friends for their ongoing love and support.