English Channel

The English Channel between France and England is about 21 miles or 33,3 km's., water temperatures between 15  - 18 degrees Celcius in summer. Matthew Web became the first person to do the swim in 1875.

In September 1930 Peggy Duncan, who swam across Table Bay from Robben Island in 1926, became the first South African to swim across the English Channel. The next person from southern Africa to complete the swim was Denis Pearson of Salisbury, Rhodesia in 1959, and next came Peter Bales of Cape Town in 1969.

By 2018 at total 36 South Africans had completed the swim - including two efforts by Lewis Pugh who is listed as a South African on the official Channel swimming website.

Otto Thaning, a surgeon from Cape Town and former Transvaal swimmer with Cecil Colwin, swam the Channel in 1994, and in again in 2014, when at age 74 he became the oldest swimmer to complete the crossing. 

Another Cape Town doctor was Derek Yach who crossed in 1987, in a fast time of 9:48. His brother Theo Yach, famous for completing 100 Robben Island crossings in May 2016, did the Channel swim in 1996. 

Steve Klugman, a former Western Province butterfly swimmer with coach Clara Aurik, swam the Channel in 2002. In 2004 he became the first South African to swim across False Bay. Carina Bruwer swam the English Channel swim in  2005, and them also completed the 36 km crossing of False Bay in 2006.

Johannesburg attorney Gary Austin completed two swims in1995 and 1997.

Two South African schools  teams have successfully completed the swim as a relay - Redhill from Sandton in 1996 and in 2001 an all-girls team from DSG in Grahamstown.

Bobby Jo Bassingthwaite of Windhoek was the first swimmer from Nambia to succeed in crossing the English Channel in 1999.


Patricia Retief with famous Channel swimmer andd coach Jabez Wolff

1930   Margaret "Peggy" Duncan
1959    Dennis Pearson (Rhodesia)
1969 Peter Elwin Bales
1979 Kevin Anderson
1987   Derek Yach
1990 David Riding
1992 Lewis Pugh
1993 Hirsch Swim Team (Relay)
1994 Susan Fraenkel
1994 Otto Thaning
1995 Hulme Scholes
1995 Gary Austin
1996 Redhill School
1996 Theodore Yach
1997 Richard Landsey (Zimbabwe)
1997 Gary Austin ( a member of Benoni Northerns Team crossing in 2001)
1997 Sarah Wylie
1999 Bobby Jo Bassingthwaite (Namibia)
2000 Eels
2001 Diocesan School for girls (D.S.G. ) Grahamstown
2001 Benoni Northern Mixed
2001 Greg Bastik
2002 Wayne Chaitman
2002           Channel Champs - Warren Mills, Chris Reardon, Anton Truter, Wayne Delbroux, Gareth Ball, Steve Bartel
2002 Lewis PughFan Club/Cape Long Distance Swim Assoc. 
2002   Steven Klugman
2003 John Dickerson
2003 Jonathan Crowther
2004 Hugh Tucker
2005 Carina Bruwer
2005 Dion Woodburne
2005 Ilse Eiselen-Botes
2005 Brian Allen (Zimbabwe)
2005 Mark Rosenberg
2005 Queens Park (4 person Relay)
2005 Epping Forest Flotsam (Relay) SA/UK
2006 Bruce Salt (Namibia)
2006 Barend Nortje
2006 Michele Santilhano
2007 Barend Nortje
2007 Andy Pfaff
2008 Chris Green
2008 Kieron Palframan
2008 Baren Nortje
2008 Ryan Stramrood
2008 Fredrik Louw
2010 Andrew Wilkins
2010 Don Perrott
2010 Stanley Roos
2010 Aquamen (Relay) Raymond and Nicholas Basson, Dominic Haworth, Jonty Harbinson
2010 Richard Child
2011 Roger Finch
2011 Mark Templeton
2011 Angela Lurssen
2012 Wayne Arthur
2012 Camewron Bellamy
2012 Herman van der Westhuizen
2012 Myles Wilson
2012 Patrick Thomas
2014 Anthony Pearce
2014 Janine Pearce
2014 Phia Steyn
2014 Otto Thaning (aged 73 - in 2017 holder of oldest swimmer record)
2017 Jean Craven
2017 Chris Fourie
2017 Emil Berning
2018 Howard Warrington
2018 Samantha Whelpton
2018 Paul Trevor Stevenson
2018 Lewis Pugh