St John's relay team swims English Channel

One of the swimmers

One of the swimmers

Four boys aged 12 and 13 years have successfully swum the English Channel in relays - in less than 12 ½ hours.  The swimmers from St John's Beaumont - the Jesuit Preparatory School in Old Windsor - consisted of Michael Bamber, Jack Griggs, Oliver Mason and Alistair Wilson, accompanied by member of staff, Geoff Williams, and Erik Boyter, a parent.

The relay team set off from Dover at 9am on Saturday morning, 10 July, in waters of 11 to 14 degrees.  They covered several miles of water each, with every swimmer taking two to three legs of the relay, lasting an hour each time. 'Many would have given in to the cold, fatigue and fear and if there is just one lesson to be learned it is the importance of team work and acceptance of one's responsibilities to others,' said Swimming Coach, Gerald Gravett. 'This was the justification of the whole venture - its raison d'être, as it is surely an active and visible embodiment of a vital part of both our schools' and the Jesuit ethos.'

The relay swim was the culmination of 11 months' gruelling preparation where many qualities were developed and shone through during the training and the swim itself - dedication, focus, self discipline, organisation and the ability to take on and beat harsh, cold and alien environments. Mr Gravett says he was inspired by the dedication of the swimmers: 'They took on one of the very toughest of all sporting challenges and beat it.  There are not many who will ever know the feeling of being out there in the middle of nowhere as they now do.' And he recalled the moment at 9.25pm when - after 12 hours 25 minutes 15 seconds - the swimmers achieved their goal. 'Watching Oliver from the pilot boat deck almost half a mile away, in the darkening twilight just south of Cape Griz Nez in France, swimming into and then walking up the beach waving to us, was absolutely fantastic', he said.

Source: Jesuit Commuuncations Office

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