8 year old to swim ‘the Channel’ to raise the scout hall roof


An eight year old cub scout is to help raise the estimated £25,000 needed to reslate the roof of his scout hall.His father reports: “the children have been quite captured with everything involved with the Olympics, and swimming particularly, and Ivan came up with the idea of swimming ‘the Channel’ himself.”


Ivan is now swimming between three and five times a week as he gears up for the self-imposed challenge. He was having swimming lessons once a week until joining the Selkirk pool’s swimming club which meets twice a week, and he is going along with Olga his sister to swim on other evenings.

The Channel is roughly equivalent to 1,416 lengths of Selkirk swimming pool. Ivan will swim three to five one hour sessions per week depending on how he can fit it around his homework and other activities.“He will swim approximately 50 to 55 lengths per session, hoping to finish in a little over 24 hours in total so, effectively, he will be swimming the Channel in just over a day! He plans to complete his challenge on Tuesday, March 12 at some time between 6.30pm and 7pm so that people can come and cheer him on to the finish if they want to.” More…

Channel Swimming

A milestone in British swimming history saw the successful cross channel swim by Captain Matthew Webb in 1875. As the crow flies, the distance from Dover to Calais is just less than eighteen miles, but tides and winds mean a longer distance has to be covered by the swimmer. It took Webb twenty-one hours forty five minutes to complete the crossing. He then held on to the accolade of channel supremacy until 1911, when T W Burgess managed to swim across on his sixteenth attempt. The effect of Webb’s success had a dramatic impact on the nation’s youth as reported in the New York Times:

‘The London baths are crowded; each village pond and running stream contains youthful worshippers at the shrine of Webb and even along the banks of the river, regardless of the terrors of the Thames police, swarms of naked urchins ply their limbs, each probably determined that he one day will be another Captain Webb.’

Boys inspired by Webb sparked a shift in British culture that change swimming from an animated, outdoor, playful activity, mostly enjoyed by working class boys, into a very competitive sport, confined predominantly to man-made indoor pools. Read the history of British Swimming and discover our rich heritage.

The youngest person to swim the channel is  Thomas Gregory (UK) – in 1988 at 11 years 330 days, the oldest, Roger Allsopp (UK) – in 2011 at 70 years and four months.

#MatthewWebb #Swimmingpool #CultureoftheUnitedKingdom #BritishSwimming #Webb #EnglishChannel #NewYorkTimes #swimminglessons

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