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Taunton Preparatory School Boys and Girls swim the English Channel

Congratulations to the twelve school girls and boys from Taunton Preparatory School who have achieved their mission to swim the English Channel. Their swim has so far raised almost £5000 for The Neonatal Unit at Musgrove Park Hospital, Taunton where many of the students were born.

The teams set off late afternoon from the shores of Dover on Sunday 8 September 2019. They accomplished the 21-mile six-person Relay Team Crossings largely during the night through the choppy waters of the Channel, arriving in France at sunrise.

The Channel 4 celebrity “Sink or Swim” team set off at the same time as the 12-year-olds who were delighted to get some great advice from Ross Edgley the Celeb team’s coach.

The children arrived back at school late on Monday afternoon to a hero’s welcome from cheering peers and teachers.  The squad began their endurance pool based training in May 2018 and then undertook acclimatisation training at Wiveliscombe outdoor pool over the Christmas holidays in water temperatures of only 19C with frost all around. Since then they have completed over 300 hours each of training in Clevedon and Lyme Regis, as well as in the school's two swimming pools several times a week.

During August 2019, they completed the Clevedon Long Swim and the following day took on The Chestnut Appeal Plymouth Breakwater Swim. They began night swimming training in Lyme Regis a few weeks ago.

The students were supported by Head of Geography and Pastoral Head of Years 7 and 8 at Taunton Prep School, Hamish McCarthy who is Taunton School’s Long Distance Swim Coach and an experienced open water swimming coach. Last year he won the Somerset Activity and Sport Award for Contribution to School Sport. To qualify under the Channel Swimming and Pilots Federation rules, all students have had to swim for two hours in sea temperatures of 16C and pass a stringent medical examination. All have to be 12-years-old when the swim occurs. 

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