'You can do anything if you apply yourself' - determined duo conquer English Channel swim
PUBLISHED: 13:48 10 July 2018 | UPDATED: 09:53 11 July 2018
A pair of resolute swimmers have successfully conquered one of the sternest tests of human endurance.
Under the team name ‘Mighty Mantas’, Danny Sayer and Vicki Grice attempted to swim across the English Channel from England to France on June 25, setting off at 8.34am.
The pair, who are team mates at Beccles Triathlon Club, undertook the task as a relay team, swimming alternatively for an hour each while the Sea Leopard vessel travelled alongside.
Starting from ‘Swimmers Beach’ in Samphire Hoe, Ms Grice - from Carlton Colville - plunged into the sea to begin a challenge that warrants an intense training schedule.
“Vicki and I met at a swimming club and, after doing more open water swimming, we thought we’d have a crack at swimming the Channel,” said 45-year-old Mr Sayer, who is from Worlingham and only learnt to swim when he was 30.
“You really do have to be in training for about two years. We’d swim about 15,000 metres a week and getting yourself acclimatised to cold water temperatures is very important.”
While the bone-chilling temperatures presented a risk of hypothermia, the swimmers sustained nasty jellyfish stings and had to negotiate one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world.
Also standing in their way was the Channel’s infamously strong currents, the toughest of which are during the last three miles and necessitate extra effort when the human body is at its most fatigued.
“The swim is 21 miles from point to point, but we did about 32 due to the drift,” added Mr Sayer. “In the last couple of hours Vicki was really shivering and I was suffering with sheer exhaustion, but you just push on because you don’t want to let your team mate down.”
Despite the final mile taking an hour, Mr Sayer landed at Cap Gris Nez on the French Coast at about 9.42pm. The pair’s total time was 13 hours and eight minutes.
“In a way, the actual swim is ratification that your training went well,” said Mr Sayer. “The challenge was more for my boys than myself - to show them you can do anything if you apply yourself.”
The duo would like to thank Sea Leopard crew members Stuart Gleeson, Neil Coleman and Alex Gaunt, who looked after them each time they left the water, as well as Channel Swimming official Tracy Clark.