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|
|1993||Hirsch Swim Team (Relay)|
|1997||Richard Landsey (Zimbabwe)|
|1997||Gary Austin ( a member of Benoni Northerns Team crossing in 2001)|
|1999||Bobby Jo Bassingthwaite (Namibia)|
|2001||Diocesan School for girls (D.S.G. ) Grahamstown|
|2001||Benoni Northern Mixed|
|2002||Channel Champs - Warren Mills, Chris Reardon, Anton Truter, Wayne Delbroux, Gareth Ball, Steve Bartel|
|2002||Lewis PughFan Club/Cape Long Distance Swim Assoc.|
|2005||Brian Allen (Zimbabwe)|
|2005||Queens Park (4 person Relay)|
|2005||Epping Forest Flotsam (Relay) SA/UK|
|2006||Bruce Salt (Namibia)|
|2010||Aquamen (Relay) Raymond and Nicholas Basson, Dominic Haworth, Jonty Harbinson|
|2012||Herman van der Westhuizen|
|2014||Otto Thaning (aged 73 - in 2017 holder of oldest swimmer record)|
|2018||Paul Trevor Stevenson|