Rachel Doyle, World Winter Championship Gold Medalist, is gearing up to swim the English Channel this week in support of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. The Dublin Ireland woman won gold in the 450-metre endurance swim at the World Winter Championships in Jurmala, Riga, Latvia, on January 21, 2012. The 450-meter course was a “swimming pool” cut out of ice in the river Lielupe that flows into the Baltic Sea at Jurmala, Riga. Wetsuits were not allowed and the water temperature was 28 degrees Fahrenheit.
“To swim the channel alone with only a safety boat to guide me is a personal challenge -a once in a lifetime opportunity. It’s also a chance to raise awareness about the oceans and how crucial they are to our own existence and to raise vital funds for the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. I have always been passionate about the oceans and protecting them. Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is the only effective organization, to me, that defends, conserves, and protects ocean wildlife and ecosystems around the globe. The oceans are close to my heart and raising funds for SSCS is a great personal reward,” said Rachel.
The swim, which can take 18 hours or more depending on the open water conditions, is an endurance swim in open water spanning 26 miles (41km) as the crow flies. Swimmers have to cope with one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world, cold water, changing sea conditions, jellyfish, debris, and tides that can lengthen the swim distance. Click here to monitor Rachel’s progress.
Rachel, who is a member of the Phoenix Swim club and was coached by the first woman to swim the channel in 2000, said she feels strong and confident that she will complete the crossing, weather permitting.