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Digital Subscriptions > Outdoor Swimmer > Oct/Nov 2016 > CONQUERING the COLD


On 16 May 2016, Howard James crossed the English Channel in 13 hours 13 minutes in 10 degree Celsius water, setting a new record for the earliest Channel swim ever

It was a cold, overcast dawn and the seas beyond Dover Harbour were lumpy and sinister; not the conditions Howard had been hoping for, to tackle his early season English Channel crossin.

“I needed blue sky,” he recalls months later, si¤ing on Deal Beach, already in training for his next big swim. “If I saw one blip of blue sky I was happy. If it was cloudy, it was a dark place to be.”

According to Howard’s pilot Andy King, 16 May was his last window to beat the record set by legendary swimmer Kevin “King of the Channel” Murphy, on 29 May 1990.

Dropping off the gunwales of the Louise Jane into the 10 degrees Celsius water was the beginning of the end of a long and painful journey for Howard and his wife Esmari. In 2015 they had lost their baby daughter Alexa, who was born prematurely.

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About Outdoor Swimmer

In this issue we explore wild swimming in Scandinavia, where the right to roam extends to swimming outdoors – in some of the world’s most breathtaking scenery. We also bring you reports from some our favourite events of the summer – more swims for you to add to your bucket list! We hear from Howard James and Sabrina Wiedmer about their record breaking swims – the earliest (and coldest) English Channel crossing and the first woman to cross the Dál Raita Channel, respectively. And if that all sounds a bit too hardcore and serious, Dan Abel shows us how to keep our swimming fun. Enjoy the magazine and happy swimming.