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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Trio Tackles North Channel Soon Upon Arrival

On August 7th, Brian Ross, Chris Kraus and Rick Gaenzle didn't waste any time when they arrived in Ireland. Less than 24 hours after touching down, they set off and completed a 3-man relay across the North Channel where the water temperature ranged from 13-16°C.

Kraus led off the relay in Donaghadee, Ireland through a high volume of jellyfish bobbing up and down calm seas under light winds. "While I avoided most of the jellyfish caps, I could not escape these long thin strands of tentacles. There were too many jellies and the strands from adjacent jellies seemed to create an avoidable web that I frequently had to stroke through.

The stinging really wasn't too bad in the water, maybe it was the cold numbing me, but when I got out of the cold water
," said Ross.

As the men completed their individual legs, reheating onboard the escort boat piloted by Quinten Nelson was not so easy in the cool morning. However, the coastline of Scotland was a motivating spectacle not always a frequent sight for swimmers. The tide pushed the swimmers for 6 hours, but the last few hours were tough as the flood of water ran northwest, forcing the swimmers to scrap for every meter gained.

"The last 3 hours or so we only covered about 4 miles. Fighting the tide in cold water is quite a challenge. Luckily we were excited to see how close we were and we just knew would make it," Ross recalled of their record-setting 10 hour 18 minute crossing.

This is the first successful crossing this season and the fastest time of all relay teams including those with 6 members. Their success involved some kind fate as they landed in Ireland the day before from America. Despite jet lag, the trio took to the North Channel as circumstances developed.

Photo shows with pilot Quinten Nelson, Brian Ross, Chris Kraus and Rick Gaenzle.

Copyright © 2012 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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