Cheshire: Swimmer Will Smith completes Channel bid

Will Smith, from Bickerton, completed the challenge on Friday, September 22, in 12 hours and 51 minutes, almost 45 minutes faster than average.

Whitchurch Herald: Will Smith swims in front of a waterspout. Will Smith swims in front of a waterspout. (Image: Will Smith)

This means Will is the 2,479th person since Captain Matthew Webb from Shropshire first flew it in 1875, covering a distance of 21 miles (33 km).

A delighted Will, president of South Cheshire Swimming Club, said he often feared the worst during the swim when heavy rain and big waves cast doubt on his bid.

But he kept going, literally sailing towards the sun, remaining delighted with his efforts to raise money for the “Team Doreen Brain Aneurysm Research Fund” in honor of his brother’s partner, who is now recovering from an aneurysm.

The swim raised around £13,000.

Whitchurch Herald: Will Smith in swimming trunks after a swim.Will Smith in swimming trunks after a swim. (Image: Will Smith)

He said: “The sun rose behind dark clouds which created beautiful effects, but these clouds foreshadowed the stormy weather that hit me around 6.30am.


As the waves got stronger and it started to rain, I had to swim faster to keep up with the waves.

“I couldn’t see anything except the waves of water I was struggling with, but as I looked up and breathed, I saw my swim coach Matt Duggan from my Red Top swim club watching from the boat, so I assumed… that the conditions were still “swimable”.

“When I got to the next feeding, the rain had eased and the swell had eased up a bit.

“I looked around and at some point during the rainstorm I passed through the separation zone and entered the northeast shipping lane. I looked back and was quite concerned that the great white cliffs of Dover were still there.

“I was starting to feel the strain level after battling a strong swell, but nutrition helped me stabilize and I was back swimming at a good pace.

“It was during this period that I later learned from Matt that I had walked past several tornadoes with waterspouts. I had a feeling it was “inclement weather,” but I didn’t quite realize the biblical extent of it.

“I tracked my sailing by the number of feedings, which I combined with Matt telling me when I passed through the sea lanes.”

Here, Will said he became “geographically disoriented” and thought he had been sailing longer than he actually had, while battling a strong headwind.

His coach made the decision to increase his sugar intake rather than reduce it for more feedings, which gave Will the boost he needed, as well as learning about his fellow swimmer.

He said: “I felt something hit me on the leg – Matt later told me that a seal was interested in me and joined me for about 20 minutes.

“I think by this point I was too tired to notice.”

Whitchurch Herald: Will's swimming partner, a seal.Will’s swimming partner, a seal. (Image: Will Smith.)

The end was in sight and Will was joined by his trainer to make the bee line to Vissant Beach in France as the sugar shots took their toll.


Share your opinion on this story by sending a letter to the editor. To get in touch, email or fill out the form in this section of our website.

He said: “I took the required three steps out of the water for a certified swim and struggled to believe I had done it.

“Viewers of the French channel came to take pictures and congratulate me.

“Matt then told me that I completed the crossing in a very respectable 12 hours and 51 minutes. I could not believe it. I was sure I had been out for over 15 hours and was glad I had just landed given the conditions.”

To donate to Will’s cause, visit

Source link

Leave a Comment