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Sunday, February 3, 2013

Darren Jaundrill, An Unlikely Swimmer Setting The Bar

One of the greatest marathon swimmers in the annals of history has called the North Channel the most difficult swim in the world. It is beyond difficult, bordering on nearly the impossible, demanding the best from the very best.

The stretch of water between Scotland and Ireland is notorious for laying waste to the best plans and preparations of dozens of the most capable cold-water open water swimmers for decades. Cold water, fickle currents, unpredictable winds and weather, jellyfish - the North Channel is difficulty defined.

From the 1920's to the early part of the 21st century, the number of successes across the North Channel have been few and far between - and vastly outnumbered by aborted swims:

1. Tom Blower, 28 July 1947, 15 hours 26 minutes (Ireland-to-Scotland)
2. Kevin Murphy, 11 September 1970, 11 hours 21 minutes (Ireland-to-Scotland)
3. Kevin Murphy, 29 August 1971, 14 hours 27 minutes (Ireland-to-Scotland)
4. Ted Keenan, 11 August 1973, 18 hours 27 minutes (Ireland-to-Scotland)
5. Alison Streeter, 22 August 1988, 9 hours 54 minutes (Ireland-to-Scotland)
6. Margaret (Maggie) Kidd, 23 August 1988, 15 hours 26 minutes (Ireland-to-Scotland)
7. Colleen Blair, 12 September 2008, 15 hours 23 minutes (Ireland-to-Scotland)
8. Anne Marie Ward, 1-2 September 2010, 18 hours 59 minutes (Ireland-to-Scotland)
9. Craig Lenning, 27 July 2011, 14 hours 44 minutes (Ireland-to-Scotland)
10. Howard Keech, 2 August 2011, 14 hours 47 minutes (Ireland-to-Scotland)

1. Alison Streeter, 25 August 1989, 10 hours 4 minutes (Scotland-to-Ireland)
2. Alison Streeter, 18 August 1997, 10 hours 2 minutes (Scotland-to-Ireland)
3. Kevin Murphy, 7 September 1989, 17 hours 17 minutes (Scotland-to-Ireland)
4. Paul Lewis, 27 July 1999, 14 hours 28 minutes (Scotland-to-Ireland)
5. Stephen Price, 21 July 2000, 16 hours 56 minutes (Scotland-to-Ireland)
6. Colm O Neill, 31 July 2004, 11 hours 25 minutes (Scotland-to-Ireland)
7. Stephen Redmond, 31 August 2010, 17 hours 17 minutes (Scotland-to-Ireland)
8. Wayne Soutter, 26 August 2012, 12 hours 11 minutes (17 km course)

Each of these swimmers trained hard and long. They had to prepare themselves for all kinds of obstacles: acclimatization to the cold was only part of the equation. So was acceptance of the pain of jellyfish stings, and the unpredictability of the currents. But one common thread among these successes was their timing. These swims happened in summer, between July and September.

However, one of the greatest swims in open water swimming history reportedly occurred this winter. Darren Jaundrill claimed a solo crossing of the North Channel on December 16th in 15 hours 16 minutes from Belfast, Ireland to Portpatrick, Scotland. His self-monitored swim was the second swim of his Three Channels Challenge, a series of charity swims on behalf of the British military (Royal Navy & Royal Marines Charity, BFBS Big Salute and Help for Heroes).

"Three channels for three charities supporting three forces," explained Jaundrill. "The best things in life are in threes. That was borne from a night with some Royal Marines. The concept is simple, spread awareness of the charities by taking it across the major land masses in the British Isles."

But it was not land that attracted Jaundrill. "I have never been much a runner or cyclist. My swimming background is limited to swimming for personal recreation although I have done some search-and-rescue training in the past. I find swimming in the sea the closest I get to pure bliss, almost like liquid heaven to me." His first marathon swim was a 31 nautical mile swim from England to Wales, from Ilfracombe to Swansea. The May 2011 swim was not easy for the first-timer despite the warmish 14ºC (57ºF) waters. "The Bristol Channel was a swim of lessons with good visibility, a sea state of 2, and a gentle unimposing breeze pretty much throughout. [With a time of 21 hours 46 minutes], I came within minutes of beating Gethin Jones' record [of 21 hours 29 minutes] on the Ilfracombe to Swansea route. Personal ambition may dictate I give it another try someday."

The next year, Jaundrill stepped up to the highest alter of the marathon swimming world - the North Channel.

In winter.

In temperatures that have never been attempted before, for over 15 hours.

"[My] plan was to swim from Belfast [Ireland] to Stranraer; however, it was clear from a weather system moving in that it wasn't going to happen. It was shortened in the mid-morning to have me swim into Portpatrick [Scotland]. That said the GPS track shows me firmly on course for Stranraer due to the water movement. It became quite frustrating constantly revising direction."

While the weather threw some obstacles at Jaundrill, the cold water didn't seem to bother him. "The water was much cooler averaging 9-10ºC (48-50ºF) and the sea state did get to a 3 during the course of the day. But otherwise, we were lucky in the weather conditions." 15 hours 16 minutes in the 10ºC conditions is not luck; it is an example of indomitable strength and cold-water acclimatization of the highest order.

His exploit, if true, is in order given his preparation in the North Sea. "People often ask how much swimming I do in a pool to prepare. Quite simply, the answer is very little. Though it certainly helps as cardio exercise and to build stamina, it does nothing to prepare you for the beast that is Mother Nature at sea. Tides, currents, wind, rain, hail, sea creatures, it'’s all there waiting for you. And the nice pool temperature is somewhat different to what Mother Nature gives you in the sea. I tend to therefore do a great deal of gym work on the chest, shoulders and legs with my preferred training location being the North Sea."

But he now plans to one-up his incredulous December crossing of the North Channel. "2013 will see me take on the St Georges Channel from Dublin to Anglesey to Liverpool. The estimated time to completed the [99-mile] St Georges swim will be between 44-46 hours though this could change considerably. There is plenty that could go wrong over that length of time. Nearly two days is a long time in terms of weather and conditions. Jellyfish are always a concern and I have been stung previously during the Bristol Channel swim. I am slightly anxious about being stung early on in the St Georges swim."

While his first two swims did not have observers or media representatives, and was not ratified by the Irish Long Distance Swimming Association or other third party, his pilot for his upcoming 99-mile St Georges attempt this year will allow observers and representatives of the media, his chosen charities (BFBS Big Salute, The Royal Navy & Royal Marines Charity, and Help For Heroes), and the Irish Long Distance Swimming Association on board. With his claim at completing the North Channel in December, there will be no shortage of representatives ready to board his escort boat - as well as fellow marathon swimmers who may want to train with him.

Certainly with his mind-expanding winter swim across the North Channel, Jaundrill has substantially moved the bar for endurance athletes. By going outside the typical July-September time frame in the channel swimming community, Jaundrill demonstrated a completely different mindset for open water swimmers. No longer bound by the traditional swimming calendar, channel swims can be attempted outside the short summer season at different times of the year. It is this breakthrough mentality that is undoubtedly enabling Jaundrill to believe in his 99-mile sea swim later this year. With this kind of unprecedented thinking, Jaundrill can be an unlikely influence-maker in the sport. There will be at least a few hardened and adventurous athletes in the global open water swimming community who will wish to train with him as he prepares for his third channel challenge - and many more who will wish to study his courses across the Bristol Channel and North Channel.

But could these arduous swims be done in the Bristol Channel? What about the North Channel - in December - without the usual pedigree of completing the English Channel? Was it actually completed without video evidence, independent observers or with the aid of an experienced pilot and crew with no reports of even mild hypothermia? While his swims are not officially certified, Jaundrill is confident in his claims and abilities - and welcomes others to join his cause and his team as he trains for his 99-mile sea swim.

Jaundrill looks forward to others joining his cause. He has raised over £1000 from his first two swims, but feels "there is more I can be doing to publicise the [99 nautical mile swim connecting Ireland, Wales and England]. My challenges are going to be physically and mentally demanding and intense, but that is nothing compared with the work of our Forces. I can only hope that people will answer my call and support me supporting the charities supporting the forces."

For more information about his previous swims and charities, visit here.

Copyright © 2013 by World Open Water Swimming Association


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Hello Bob

      Thanks for commenting. Perhaps you could contact me direct and let me know who you are exactly and where we met. I have certainly not met Bob Spence or anyone of that name. I stand by what I achieved though I have never and will never claim to be extraordinary. You can contact me via here http://darrenjaundrill.me.uk/?page_id=37

      Many thanks


  2. Im sure Darren will supply the favorable evidence to support his record swim!

  3. I think the easiest way to prove his abilities is for Darren to swim with other accomplished channel swimmers in training. It has been less than 2 months since his swim, so his cold water stamina will be immediately apparent to the experienced eye. There are numerous people who train throughout the winter who can verify his potential. Darren has also been invited to Ned Denison's Cork Distance Week.

  4. Bob, if his feat is true, it certainly deserves mention. If his claims are not true, dubious claims should also be uncovered and reported. Either way, what one individual accomplishes or reports does not take away from the extraordinary feats of other individuals. Each swim stands on its own merits and each individual has their own dreams and makes their own reputations.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Hoax? But, Darren took peoples money before and after this "superhuman achievement". Are you suggesting he is now guilty of fraud? Sharp words me thinks.
      Darren will now have to put his mouth where other peoples money is.
      I look forward to his participation in Cork Distance Week!!!

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. Bob

      Thanks again. he biggest challenge is yet to come and I would be only too pleased to invite you to come and witness the swim in September/October this year. The Cork swim however will not be sponsored and so no money will be raised from it - it will purely be an opportunity for me to do some intense training with some experienced marathon swimmers.

      Once again I reiterate I am not claiming to be superhuman or any such thing. I never have and never will. I am merely doing something I enjoy in the pursuit of a good cause.

      Rest assured all of the standards expected of marathon swimmers will be in place for the St Georges Channel which I am positively committed to and am looking forward to completing.

      I once again extend the invitation to contact me direct as you do seem to have me at a disadvantage as to who you are exactly.



  5. The donations went directly to admirable causes.

  6. All,

    Once and for all I do want to state that I have never claimed to be and never will claim to be extraordinary or superhuman or anything of the kind. The article is written based on a blog I have published on my website where you will see no such claims are made.

    In terms of swims, the Bristol Channel was successful on it's third attempt after having the first cancelled due to safety boat issues, the second cancelled due to me being broken and the third taking place purely because I was there training and we decided to go ahead with the attempt. The Galloway Channel was technically a failure as I did not make the original endpoint and I have already explained that both were difficult, if indeed that covers it, for different reasons.

    My failing here is that because I am not a marathon swimmer in any sense, I had not taken the usual steps swimmers take to record their swims. I am not in this for personal prestige in anyway but I am completing challenges for charity. That failing has been discussed and I am taking steps to make sure the St Georges attempt is attended, recorded and observed according to ILDSA procedure.

    I will be attending the Cork Distance Week and I am looking forward to an opportunity for intensive training amongst people who have been doing this far longer than I.

    I don't know what more I can say or do?

    Kind Regards


  7. The article is directly written based on direct communications and email exchanges with Darren. There was no information garnered from your blog that you did not tell me directly. However, this is new information about the Galloway Channel.


Thank you very much for your interest in the world of open water swimming.

The Staff of the World Open Water Swimming Association

2014 Global Open Water Swimming Conference

Learn more...
Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

2014 Global Open Water Swimming Conference Agenda

Friday, 19 September



Welcome Reception at Mount Stuart House, Isle of Bute, Scotland

Documentary films shown throughout the reception:

Blue Journey-Amerika Samoa – Stronger Together: The Waterman’s Way
(film by Bruckner Chase)

Dancing With The Water, Crossing of Lake Pontchartrain
(film by Wayne Ewing about Matthew Moseley's Lake Pontchartrain crossing)

Bering Strait Swim Chukotka - Alaska
(film by Admiral Konstantin Sidenko about the relay between Russia and Alaska)

The Clean Swim – Hong Kong to Macau
(film about Simon Holiday's Pearl River Delta crossing)

Saturday, 20 September



Registration and Coffee at Mount Stuart House, Isle of Bute, Scotland



Keynote Speech:
Colleen Blair (Scotland) on The History of Scottish Swimming



Christopher Guesdon (Australia) on Multidimensional Roles In The Sport



Colin Hill (England) on Recent Explosion in UK Open Water



Shelley Taylor-Smith (Australia) on The Feminine Code of Achievement - How a Lady from Down Under Revolutionized Professional Marathon Swimming



Simon Murie (England) on Open Water Swimming Holidays: How A New Sector Was Created Within The Travel Industry



Swimming The Oceans Seven
A round table discussion moderated by:
Kevin Murphy (England), with Stephen Redmond (Ireland), Anna-Carin Nordin (Sweden),
Darren Miller (USA), Adam Walker (England), Kimberley Chambers (New Zealand)



Coffee and Break



World Open Water Swimming Awards Luncheon:
with co-hosts Shelley Taylor-Smith (Australia) and Steven Munatones (USA)

Pádraig Mallon (Ireland), 2013 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year

Olga Kozydub (Russia), 2013 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year

Bering Strait Swim, 2013 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year

Honoring: Vladimir Chegorin, Maria Chizhova, Elena Guseva, Ram Barkai, Jack Bright, Oksana Veklich, Aleksandr Jakovlevs, Matías Ola, Henri Kaarma, Toomas Haggi, Nuala Moore, Anne Marie Ward, Toks Viviers, Melissa O’Reilly, Ryan Stramrood, Cristian Vergara, Craig Lenning, Rafal Ziobro, Andrew Chin, Jackie Cobell, James Pittar, Paolo Chiarino, Mariia Yrjö-Koskinen, Ivan Papulshenko, Zdenek Tlamicha, Zhou Hanming, Oleg Adamov, Andrei Agarkov, Alekseev Semen, Tatiana Alexandrova, Roman Belan, Elena Semenova, Alexander Brylin, Afanasii Diackovskii, Vladimir Nefatov, Evgenii Dokuchaev, Oleg Docuckaev, Roman Efimov, Dmitrii Filitovich, Olga Filitovich, Victor Godlevskiy, Olga Golubeva, Alexei Golubkin, Alexander Golubkin, Alexandr Iurkov, Oleg Ivanov, Pavel Kabakov, Eduard Khodakovskiy, Aleksandr Komarov, Aleksandr Kuliapin, Andrey Kuzmin, Irina Lamkina, Vladimir Litvinov, Andrey Mikhalev, Victor Moskvin, Nikolay Petshak, Sergey Popov, Vladimir Poshivailov, Grigorii Prokopchuk, Dmitrii Zalka, Natalia Seraya, Viacheslav Shaposhnikov, Olga Sokolova, Andrei Sychev, Alexei Tabakov, and Nataliia Usachaeva [represented by Admiral Konstantin Sidenko and Nuala Moore]



Alexey Salmin Pavlovich (Russia) and Dmitry Dragozhilov (Russia)
on the 2016 Winter Swimming World Championships [film]



Sally Minty-Gravett (Jersey) on Motivating Swimmers



Dmitry Blokhin (Russia) and Aleksei Veller (Russia)
on the First World Ice Swimming Championships [film]



Matthew Moseley (USA)’s Dancing With The Water, Crossing of Lake Pontchartrain [film]



Simon Holliday (England) and Doug Woodring (Hong Kong)’s The Clean Swim – Hong Kong to Macau 2014 [film]



International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF)
and International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame (IMSHOF)

IMSHOF Induction Ceremonies and Dinner
with co-hosts Shelley Taylor-Smith (Australia) and Steven Munatones (USA).

Recognition of International Swimming Hall of Fame honorees:

  • Elizabeth Fry (USA), IMSHOF Honour Swimmer

  • Vojislav Mijić (Serbia), IMSHOF Honour Swimmer

  • James Anderson (USA), IMSHOF Honour Administrator

  • Dr. Jane Katz (USA), IMSHOF Honour Administrator

  • Indonesian Swimming Federation Open Water Committee (Indonesia), IMSHOF Honour Organisation

  • Melissa Cunningham (Australia), Irving Davids – Captain Roger Wheeler Award by the International Swimming Hall of Fame and IMSHOF Honour Swimmer

  • Sandra Bucha (USA), ISHOF Honor Open Water Swimmer and IMSHOF Honour Swimmer

  • Jon Erikson (USA), ISHOF Honor Open Water Swimmer and IMSHOF Honour Swimmer [represented by Sandra Bucha]



International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) Introduction Video.
Welcome speech by host Shelley Taylor-Smith (Australia)






International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF)
Induction Ceremonies and Dinner with host Shelley Taylor-Smith (Australia)

Recognition of International Swimming Hall of Fame honorees:

  • Mercedes Gleitze (England)
    ISHOF Honor Pioneer Swimmer and IMSHOF Honour Swimmer
    [represented by daughter Doloranda Pember]

  • Dale Petranech (USA)
    ISHOF Honor Contributer and IMSHOF Honour Administrator

  • Claudio Plit (Argentina)
    ISHOF Honor Open Water Swimmer and IMSHOF Honour Swimmer
    [represented by Shelley Taylor-Smith]

  • Judith van Berkel-de Nijs (Netherlands)
    ISHOF Honor Open Water Swimmer and IMSHOF Honour Swimmer
    [represented by Niek Kloots]

  • George Young (Canada)
    ISHOF Honor Pioneer Swimmer and IMSHOF Honour Swimmer
    [represented by the Catalina Channel Swimming Federation]

  • David Yudovin (USA)
    ISHOF Honor Open Water Swimmer and IMSHOF Honour Swimmer

Sunday, 21 September



Registration and coffee at Mount Stuart House, Isle of Bute, Scotland



Nuala Moore (Ireland) on The Mindset of 1000m at 0ºC



Admiral Konstantin Sidenko (Russia)’s Bering Strait Swim Chukotka - Alaska in 2013 [film]



Ned Denison (Ireland) on Swimming The World



Bruckner Chase (USA)’s Blue Journey-Amerika Samoa
Stronger Together: The Waterman’s Way



Rok Kerin (Slovenia) on Lifestyle Benefits From Open Water Swimming



Survey distribution and group photo-taking



Swim at Stravvana Bay, Isle of Bute


The Global Open Water Swimming Conference is a conference on the sport of open water swimming, marathon swimming and swimming during triathlons and multi-sport endurance events.

The conference which has been attended by enthusiasts and luminaries from 6 continents, is devoted to providing information about the latest trends, race tactics, training techniques, equipment, psychological preparation, race organization and safety practices used in the sports of open water swimming, marathon swimming and triathlons.

The conference's mission is to provide opportunities to listen and meet many of the world's most foremost experts in open water swimming, and to meet and discuss the sport among swimmers, coaches, administrators, event organizers, sponsors, vendors, officials, escort pilots, and volunteers from kayakers to safety personnel.

Dozens of presentations at the 2014 Conference at the Mount Stuart House cover numerous aspects of the vast and growing world of open water swimming where attendees can learn and share the latest trends, race tactics, training modalities, swimming techniques, equipment, race organization, logistics, operations, and safety practices for open water swimming as a solo swimmer, competitive athlete, fitness swimmer, masters swimmer, triathlete, multi-sport athlete, administrator, race promoter, sponsor or referee.

The conference was first held in Long Beach, California as part of the 2010 USA Swimming National Open Water Swimming Championships. It has since been held on the Queen Mary in California, at Columbia University and the United Nations in New York City, and in Cork, Ireland. This year in September, it comes to another iconic location, the Mount Stuart House on the Isle of Bute in Scotland.

"The Global Open Water Swimming Conference was started due to the desire and need for athletes, coaches, referees, administrators, race directors, promoters and sponsors from around the world to share, collect and learn information about the growing sports of open water swimming, marathon swimming and triathlons," said founder Steven Munatones. "Other swimming conferences usually offering nothing on open water swimming or perhaps a speech or two, but we thought open water swimming deserves its own global conference. It is great that the community shares its information via the online social network, but there is nothing like meeting other open water swimming enthusiasts face-to-face and talking about the sport from morning to night."

Speakers at the conference include English Channel swimmers, ice swimmers, record holders, renowned coaches, world champions, professional marathon swimmers, renowned race directors, officials and administrators from the Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania.

"Because the audience is passionate and educated about the sport and its finest practitioners, the Global Open Water Swimming Conference is also the location of the induction ceremonies for the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame and the annual WOWSA Awards that recognize the World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year, the World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year, the World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year, and the World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year. Special Lifetime Achievement Awards are also occasionally presented to individuals who have made significant contributions to the sport over their career."

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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Open Water Swimming Magazine

Open Water Swimming Magazine

The Open Water Swimming Magazine is the monthly magazine entirely focused on open water swimming heroes and heroines of every age, ability, and background. Published by the World Open Water Swimming Association, the Open Water Swimming Magazine is a free benefit to WOWSA members.

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The Other Shore

The Other Shore follows world record holder and legendary swimmer Diana Nyad as she comes out of a thirty-year retirement to re-attempt an elusive dream: swimming 103 miles non-stop from Cuba to Florida without the use of a shark cage. Her past and present collide in her obsession with a feat that nobody has ever accomplished. At the edge of The Devil’s Triangle, tropical storms, sharks, venomous jellyfish, and one of the strongest ocean currents in the world, all prove to be life-threatening realities. Timothy Wheeler’s documentary brings Diana Nyad’s extraordinary adventure to life as Diana sets out to prove that will and determination are all you need to make the unimaginable possible.

2014 Open Water Swimming Almanac

An Almanac for Open Water Swimming

An almanac is essentially a body of knowledge which is so complete that it enables people in different fields to make predictions about the future of their respective industries.

This, for example, was the purpose of the traditional farmers almanacs. It enabled farmers to determine as accurately as possible which crops to plant for the greatest harvests in a given year.

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