UPDATED: Chisholm achieves dream of swimming English Channel

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Published on July 24, 2014

Swift Current's Meghan Chisholm nervously awaits the start of her English Channel swim attempt on July 22.

Published on July 24, 2014

Swift Current's Meghan Chisholm began her English Channel swim at 6:09 a.m. on July 22 when she waded into the Atlantic Ocean at Dover.

Published on July 24, 2014

Meghan Chisholm had nutrition breaks during her English Channel swim, with a line bottle thrown from the boat to provide her with juices, soups, chunks of banana and other high carb foods. She could not touch the boat at any time during her swim or she would have been disqualified.

Published on July 24, 2014

Swift Current's Meghan Chisholm shared the waters of the English Channel with many ferries, tankers and other maritime traffic during her July 22 crossing, with her route taking her through the midst of heavily used shipping lanes.

Published on July 24, 2014

There was a small sense of relief when Meghan Chisholm was within sight of the French coast, but it still took a determined effort to complete the swim in a time of 14 hours and 39 minutes.

Published on July 24, 2014

While her support team watched from the deck of the pilot boat Pathfinder, Swift Current's Meghan Chisholm stood on the shore of the French coast after completing her English Channel swim in 14 hours and 39 minutes. She was then greeted by a French family who were enjoying an oceanside evening.

Published on July 24, 2014

A photographically tranquil moment in Meghan Chisholm's July 22 English Channel solo swim.

Published on July 24, 2014

Swift Current's Meghan Chisholm swims with the French coast in the background at the completion of her July 22 solo swim of the English Channel.

At 7:49 p.m. UK time on July 22, Swift Current's Meghan Chisholm set foot on the shores of France to complete a 14 hour, 39 minute solo swim crossing of the English Channel to become the first Saskatchewan resident to accomplish this daunting feat.

Strong currents and heavy waves forced her to swim 48.5 kilometres instead of the 34 kilometre actual distance between England and France.

Chisholm had to overcome her own doubts, extreme crossing conditions, and the added challenge of making her channel swim a day ahead of her scheduled date. She was slated to be the fourth swimmer utilizing the pilot boat Pathfinder, but a swimmer backed out at the last moment, so she was pressed into her swim a full day early. Ironically, the Chisholm family was visiting Dover Castle on Monday afternoon when they received the text Meghan would be in the water at 6:30 a.m. on Tuesday. With only four hours of sleep, the Chisholm's made their way to the docs at 5:30 a.m. to make their final preparations.

Meghan's father John Chisholm shared some of the challenges of the swim, which began smoothly at 6:09 am. from Dover, Kent UK. After leaving the Dover harbour, she was met my metre high waves, and was stung by jelly fish in the leg, arm and nose during the early portion of her swim.

In the middle of her crossing, she had to alter her course to avoid barges and cruise liners which are higher priority traffic in the shipping lanes she was swimming. Meghan also had to endure ocean waves over 2.5 metres (nine feet).

When she was within 10 kilometres of the French coastline, the tides changed and she began swimming headlong into the waves, which drastically slowed her progress. And as the coast got closer, the swim became increasingly tougher, and John Chisholm noted in an email "the last four kilometres seemed like an eternity".

Exhausted, Meghan stepped onto the French coast where she was greeted by a family who were on the beach, who asked her name, where she was from, and what time she began her swim.

She did not have long to savour her accomplishment, as after her few moments on the French coast she swam back to Pathfinder for a quicker return crossing. Meghan slept for the three hour journey back to Dover.

Geographic location: English Channel, Dover, UK Swift Current France Saskatchewan England

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  • Stephen Anderson
    July 26, 2014 - 12:56

    CONGRATULATIONS MEGHAN! Your dedication and passion for sport and for a real cause is something of awe. Swift Current is totally proud.

  • Chris Mozol
    July 24, 2014 - 16:16

    Just an amazing young woman!!!!