Warwick School boys swim the channel - and back

By Kevin Unitt 16/07 Updated: 18/07 07:11

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The boys in action. (s)

SEAWEED, jellyfish and busy shipping lanes failed to stop boys from Warwick School becoming the first school team ever to complete a two-way swim of the English Channel.

The six boys – aged 14 to 18 – who completed the epic challenge were captain Will Hopkins plus James Foster, Josh Harridine, Patrick Haynes, Callum Ellis, Max Clarke and team support swimmer and observer Angus Preston.

They set off from Samphire Hoe, Dover, at just after midnight on Saturday July 7 and took 13 hours and nine minutes to complete the swim over to Abbeville in Calais, completing an hour at a time in turn.

About three hours into the swim the team turned into a choppy wind, with six hours of slog ahead of them and suffering from motion sickness, it made progress much slower than they had hoped for. Conquering their fears as they had to swim in the dark through banks of seaweed, jellyfish and the wakes from container ships and ferries, the boys persevered.

The swim back was in some ways easier as the wind was now behind them reducing the motion in the boat and reducing the force-five weather to a more reasonable three to four. Tide and effort turned the team towards England and the light started to fade as the team tackled the sea lane for the second time, completing the return swim in a total of 12 hours 28 minutes.

A school spokesman said: “Warwick School are not only the first people to succeed in their attempt at a two-way channel swim this year but are the only boys school to ever complete the classic, six-man two-way swi,.

“Congratulations to the team and Peter Nield, their coach, to have the vision, courage and energy to see this amazing and exhilarating challenge through.”

* Former Warwick School pupil Christian Horner, now team principal of the successful Red Bull Formual One team, was guest of honour at the school's prize-giving evening on July 11.

One of Warwick School’s most famous and successful old boys, M Horner has been at the helm of Red Bull Racing since 2005 and in that time the team has picked up a haul of titles, race wins and pole positions,.and the weekend before his visit Red Bull driver Mark Webber,won the British Grand Prix.

Mr Horner spoke to the audience of students, parents, staff, governors and old boys of his time at the school and subsequent career, saying skills he learnt at the school such as team work and having values and beliefs helped guide him through life.

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The team safely back home, alongside their coaches. (s)

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