Great Swim director for Nova International, Colin Hill, from Tynedale ASC, crossed the English Channel in 10h 30m on 28 September 2009. Colin completed the 22-mile crossing from Dover to Calais, supported by a boat and crew of six.
Starting the swim at 3:50am in complete darkness, this was not a swim for the faint hearted. However, Colin recalls: “it’s a fantastic, brilliant and rewarding feeling to know that I’ve swum the English Channel. It is something that I have always wanted to do and it’s incredible to have finally achieved my dream… It was a gruelling experience though and I wasn’t sure I was going to make it until I actually climbed out on to the rocks at the very end… I can’t believe I’ve done it.”
In preparation for the Channel Swim, Colin completed a return crossing of Lake Windermere. The Windermere swim was a similar distance to the Channel Swim although the water was warmer and a lot calmer. Through determination and hard training Colin can now call himself a Channel Swimmer.
The first person to swim the Channel was captain Matthew Webb in 1875. It took him 21 hours and 45 minutes after strong current preventing him reaching shore for five hours. However, completing the Channel Swim is still a rare feat with only just over one thousand people successfully managing the crossing.
This is a huge feat both physically and mentally, however it is not Colin’s only accomplishment in open water swimming.
In addition to this Colin promotes Wild Swimming in the Lake District and as the Great Swim director for Nova International has been at the forefront of bringing open water swimming to the masses over the past couple of years.
Mountains have been moved by Colin and his team to bring world-class swimmers from around the world to compete in a televised and heavily marketed one-mile races across great Briton. In addition to the elite international athletes thousands of newcomers have also been attracted to the Great North Swim, the Great London Swim, the Great East Swim and the Great Scottish Swim.
Starting in December, Channel 4 will be airing each of the Great Swim events on Sunday mornings from 8am, where you can see the 6000 swimmers that did each event with friends, family and co-workers. Colin’s drive to make open water swimming accessible and popular in Great Britain, for people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds, is an achievement powered by his energy and vision. In the build-up to the 2012 London Olympics and the power of the current crew of British swimmers, Colin’s timing could also not be better.
It is due to his innovative promotions for the sport and his entrepreneurial spirit that Colin is nominated as the 2009 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year. Other British swimmers up for nominations include Kevin Murphy, the first Briton to swim the two way English Channel Swim and Keri-Anne Payne, Olympic 10K marathon Swim silver medallist.
To vote for Colin or any of the other British Swimmers please visit www.thewaterisopen.com
Colin is currently fourth in the 2009 Open Water Swimming Man of the Year results. Votes are open until December 2009. Let’s raise the profile of open water swimming and vote for your Open Water Swimmer of the year.
Visit Colin’s blog.