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French swimmer sets new women’s record time for Channel crossing

Marion Joffle swam the 34-kilometre stretch from Dover to Cap Gris-Nez in nine hours and 22 minutes, breaking the 1994 speed record

A French woman has broken the female record for the fastest swim across the channel Pic: pxl.store / Shutterstock

The record for the fastest swim across the Channel has been broken by a French swimmer who completed the crossing in nine hours and 22 minutes. 

Marion Joffle, a 23-year-old from Caen, swam the 34 kilometres from Dover to Cap Gris-Nez (Pas-de-Calais) on Sunday (August 21).

The previous record had been held by Marion Hans, who swam the Channel in nine hours and 42 minutes in 1994. At the age of 17, she had been the first French woman to complete the crossing.

Ms Joffle’s swim was streamed live to the public via her Facebook page, thanks to videos filmed by the team following her journey on an accompanying boat.

Wearing just a swimming costume, goggles and swimming cap, she left Dover at 07:00. 

“To spend nine hours and 22 minutes in saltwater and to swim non-stop from England to France is really exhausting, but I stick with the positives and I still have an enormous smile [on my face] for having linked up two countries by swimming,” she told France 3.

“I trained really hard for this crossing attempt. I was ready mentally, and therefore physically as well. During the crossing, I had high and low points, but I was able to get to the end of the challenge.” 

Ms Joffle’s swim was in aid of the Institut Curie cancer research foundation, for which she has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise money. As of August 22, she has raised over €7,500 out of an €8,000 objective.

She had an epithelioid sarcoma – a rare type of soft tissue cancer – when she was a child, and so is eager to contribute to the fight against childhood cancers.

How do you get to swim the Channel? 

It is possible for anyone to swim the Channel, but your attempt must be booked in advance with the Channel Swimming Association (CSA) or the Channel Swimming and Piloting Federation (CS & PF) and an escort pilot chosen.

The CSA states that pilots are currently taking bookings three years in advance, so you will need to reserve your slot as early as you can.

Attempting a Channel swim also comes with an associated fee, which the CSA quotes as being £425.

You will also have to carry out a test swim in cold water and undergo a medical examination. 

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