Wearing just a Speedo and goggles, and maybe a cap, nose clip, and ear plugs, Park City resident Rob Lea is making his away across the English Channel and what could be history in the making…
It was just 50 days ago, when Rob Lea summited the world’s tallest mountain – Mount Everest. Since then, he’s put on 25 pounds, hoping it will insulate him as he swims the 21 plus miles, between England and France. The official rules don’t allow a swimmer to use a wetsuit.
If he succeeds, Lea will become the first person to climb Everest and swim the Channel in the same year.
His fiancé, Caroline Gliech, who joined him on the top of Everest, is on the boat, Optimist, as part of the crew staying with Lea during his swim.
Gleich says she will do her best to keep us updated and will be sharing encouraging messages posted on Facebook with him that she will print on a whiteboard to show him.
While the distance is about 21 miles, it changes according to the current. Tides need to be taken into account and most swimmers tackle a sort of S-shaped course. And it just takes time – the record time was done in just under 7 hours.
Swimmers are not allowed to touch another human during the course of the swim, so any food must be passed to the swimmer using a long pole from the escort boat.
It’s dangerous. The Channel is one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world with some 600 tankers and 200 ferries passing through every day. The escort and pilot’s job is to make sure the swimmer stays out of the way.
And it’s cold. The water temperature ranges between 57 and 61 degrees Fahrenheit.
Lea and Gleich plan to marry next month and then to complete his ultimate world triathlon, Lea plans to bike across America in September.
You can find the link to track the boat - Optimist - HERE.