Chiswick Swimmer Braves Jellyfish For Charity

Casper Stops swam the English Channel in difficult conditions


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Local resident Caspar Stops was one of a relay team of six from Hiscox who successfully swam across the English Channel on Saturday (6th July) in 15 hours and 30 minutes despite difficult conditions.

Preparations had been disrupted by the recent bad weather and the team had managed only one open water swim in the sea beforehand. Water temperatures were lower than usual at a very fresh 14 deg C (57 deg F) when they set off at 8am from Dover accompanied by team boat Anastasia and an observer from the Channel Swimming and Piloting Federation, a necessary condition of the swim if it is to enter the official records. The rules are very clear. No wetsuits and the active swimmer must not touch the boat nor another swimmer in the water.

The route took them from Dover to as close to Sangette as the tides would allow, a distance of at over 19 miles. Apart from the sea temperature the main hazards were jellyfish, tankers as they crossed the separation lanes for shipping and the risk of getting lost when night fell. They had the equivalent of a bicycle rear lamp attached to their swim hat to enable the boat to keep them in sight as landfall wasn’t made until 11.30pm (BST).

The team, consisting of Alastair Black, Debbie Lavender, Matthew Brader, Jonathan Lord, James Goldsmith and Caspar Stops, were swimming to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society and the British Heart Foundation.

Caspar, a former student of Latymer Upper School and long-time Chiswick resident, said “We have raised twice our original target. We expect the total to exceed £10,000 by the time we collect all the donations we have been promised

July 12, 2013

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