Rob Lea Successfully Swims the English Channel

Jul 10, 2019

Rob Lea prior to his swim across the English Channel
Credit Caroline Gleich

Park City resident Rob Lea just made the history books. 

On Tuesday, which was Tuesday night in Europe, Lea successfully swam the English Channel and made history as the first person to ever climb Mount Everest and swim the English Channel in a single year. His official time was 11 hours 47 minutes to swim the 21 plus miles from the shore of England to France.

On the advice of his boat’s pilot – the boat aptly named Optimist – Lea agreed to move up his swim by 12 hours from 4 in the morning to 4 in the afternoon – meaning that he spent most of the time swimming in the dark. That may have been to his benefit though because it meant that he was swimming during the day – according to his Utah body clock.

Wearing only a speedo, swim cap, and ear plugs, Lea was stung by jellyfish more than 50 times. He had green LED flashing lights attached to his cap and suit. His fiancée Caroline Gleich also reported that his tongue is sore – mostly due to the exposure of salt water for nearly 12 hours.

Lea received hourly feedings using a long pole, as the official rules to swim the Channel require that he touch no human – or have any assistance while in the water. The feedings included sports gel, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches as well as lots of electrolyte fluids. 

You can follow his story on his Instagram page where he is shown a bit wobbly after getting out of the water and onto the boat. After bundling up in warm clothes he drinks a coke -  then a beer  - before taking a well-deserved nap.

In September, Lea will attempt to complete his world triathlon in less than six months by riding across the United States.