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WE DID IT!!!!!!!
We are thrilled to say that on Thursday 19th July (slightly earlier than anticpated) the Sea Gals completed their channel relay in13 hours and 23 mins, Amelie making land at Cap Gris Nez 18:18.
- CSA swim result page https://www.channelswimmingassociation.com/swim/4850/sea-gals
- CPAG news page http://www.cpag.org.uk/content/sea-gals-youngest-team-swim-channel-raise-%C2%A35000
Now that we have had time to catch our breath we would like to say
Thanks also to Tim Denyer, James Napier, Reg and Ray, Sarah Leipzigger, and to all the cake, card and cactus buyers, brick-a-brackers, tombola-ers and Crowdfunders who got us off the ground / into the water!
Guardian picture essay: The Sea Gals swim the Channel, Teri Pengilley Thursday 26th July, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/jul/26/the-sea-gals-swim-the-channel-photo-essay
Outdoor Swimming Society: YOUNGEST RELAY TEAM SWIMS ACROSS ENGLISH CHANNEL, photos by Teri Pengilley, 27th July, 2018, https://www.outdoorswimmingsociety.com/youngest-relay-team-swims-across-english-channel
The Week Junior: Teens break Channel Swimming record, 4th August 2018, Issue 139, p.3
About the Sea Gals
This summer the Sea Gals, six friends from East London aged between 13 and 14 - Amelie, Eve, Grace, Lucy, Ruby, and Sasha - swam the Channel from Dover, England to Cap Gris Nez in France, a distance of over 33 kilometres. Our aim has been to raise money for Child Poverty Action Group
The Sea Gals first got together in the winter of 2016, where we met our coach, Tim Denyer, who showed us charts of the English Channel and spoke to us about strange new things like ebb tides and neap tides.
At the time, some of us were still eleven years old, and the concept of jumping into freezing cold water and swimming to France was abstract, a little frightening, and hard to believe. There was much talk of sharks and container ships.
Training for the channel swim
Since that time, the Sea Gals, while training regularly with our community swim clubs, had also taken part in cold-water swims in Dover. The water temperature in July was expected to be between 16 and 18 degrees, and we were not allowed wear wetsuits, as decreed by the Channel Swimming Association who invigilated our swim.
In training we competed against wetsuit-clad triathletes (three times our age and size) in West Reservoir open-water races in North London, and have met at the London Fields Lido to swim hour-long time trials. We also paddled with ducks in the Hampstead ponds in 10-degree water. Anything to acclimatise.
The Big Swim
Our start time depended on the tides, which meant that we might have started our swim in the middle of the night. We didn't know until the day before. In the end Lucy started us off at 5.55 a.m. from Samphire Hoe.
Relays swum by strong adult swimmers generally take between ten and twelve hours, depending on tides and the weather, so we were hoping to complete our swim in a time between twelve and fourteen hours. Amelie reached Cap Gris Nez at 18.18, so we completed the distance in 13 hours and 23 minutes.
When the team embarked from Dover, accompanied by Tim and our trusted captain Reg and his boat, the Viking Princess, the tide first carried us north east up the Channel until we reach the shipping lane, when the tide turned and pulled us south west. Because of this we expected that our track across the water would resemble a backwards S, finishing off when our last swimmer touches the rocks of the Cap.
You can see the route we took here on the CSA swim result page https://www.channelswimmingassociation.com/swim/4850/sea-gals
Our aim has been to raise money for the Child Poverty Action Group, but before this could happen funds were needed to cover operational costs: swimming coach, the Channel Swimming Association (CSA) fees and officiator, the fishing boat and crew that will accompany the girls, and the insurance etc.
Parents contributed what they could to the costs, and over the last 12 months the girls became experts at running bake sales and tombolas! Thanks to our loyal supporters on Crowdfunder the remaining overheads of our challenge were covered.
So from that point we switched to Just Giving so that all further funds raised we have been going strait to Child Poverty Action Group. (CPAG)
Why Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG)?
When we realised that this audacious challenge could command peoples' attention and help to raise money for a good cause each of us nominated our favourite charities including CPAG.
Then, on the 24 January 2018 End Child Poverty, a coalition of organisations including CPAG, other children’s charities and civil society groups announced the publication of a new report with the headline “MORE THAN HALF OF CHILDREN NOW LIVING IN POVERTY IN SOME PARTS OF THE UK.”
At the top of a table of Parliamentary constituencies with the highest levels of child poverty across the UK was Bethnal Green and Bow where several of us swim and where 54.18% of children were calculated to be in poverty in 2017. At number twelve in the table it was Glasgow Central with 45.06%. Hackeney South and Shoreditch, where most of us live, came in twentieth out of more than 600 constituencies in Britain with 43.29%. At a local authority level Tower Hamlets is at the top of the table, Manchester second, Newham third and Hackney fifth. You can read more about it at http://www.endchildpoverty.org.uk/more-than-half-of-children-now-living-in-poverty-in-some-parts-of-the-uk/
A few months later we contacted CPAG and started to work together. CPAG "aim to prevent and end child poverty by advocating evidence-based solutions to policy-makers and providing accurate information and advice so families can access the financial support they need.” (From the Charity Commission's (E&W) Register of Charities: 294841)
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