Taunton School Main Building at Dusk

Taunton Prep School swimmers attempt Channel swim record

Posted: 29th July 2022

Children and adults in the sea

A group of daring children from Taunton Prep School in Somerset are attempting to become the youngest ever relay team to swim the English Channel.

The youngsters, all aged around 12, have been training for months for the challenge, which will see them swim 21 miles from Dover to Cap Gris Nez this summer.

The children, who have been training in the school swimming pool and in the sea around Dorset Somerset, Devon and Cornwall, will dive into the Channel as soon as weather conditions allow.

Relay team member Erin said: “Swimming the Channel is a great opportunity and it will be really fun. I’m a bit nervous about the jellyfish but I know that the teachers will keep us safe.”

Fellow swimmer Isobel said: “I’ll go in the water for an hour then come out and sleep for about five hours and then get woken up to go again for an hour.”

Much of the swimming will be done overnight, with swimmers battling jellyfish, tides and sea temperatures of just 18 degrees Celsius.

Taunton Prep School teacher and swimming coach Hamish McCarthy, an Army veteran who organised similar challenges for the military and wounded service personnel, is training the team in long distance swimming three to four times a week.

He said: “These children are dedicated, courageous and strong young people who prove that age is no barrier to achievement. They continually do themselves, their families and Taunton Prep School proud.

“This has been an incredible journey for them and I’m sure there will be huge celebrations when they reach France!”

A Taunton School team previously took on the challenge in 2019 and the current swimmers are hoping to smash the world record set by their predecessors.


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