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Details about the Relay and the Team

I have been getting many questions on what a “Team Channel Swim” is, so a few words are in order:

First of all, a “relay Channel swim”, as the team effort is called, is really not that different from a solo effort. The distance is the same (a bit more than 32km), the rules are the same (no wetsuit, no touching the boat, etc.). The only difference is that the swimmers in the team take turns swimming: The team has to declare the order the swimmers will enter the water, and then, following that order, each swimmer has to spend one hour in in the water. Once all the swimmers in the team have swum once, it is back to the first swimmer again- and this goes on until the crossing is complete. 

Each team may consist of a minimum of two and a maximum of six swimmers. In a team of six decent swimmers, who can swim around 3 kilometers in an hour, each swimmer may expect to enter the water only twice. Our team is made up of four swimmers: Me, Raha Akhavan, Emre Deliveli and Darren Watson. We expect to cover 12-13 kilometers each round, and this would mean that, we would probably finish in the third round, and the last swimmer may not have the chance to enter the water for a third time.

Sounds like a walk in the park, or rather a swim in the pond?:) Well, not really… While a one-hour swim is no big deal by itself, it is the cold that bites. Water temperatures in the Channel in the summer range between 15 to 18 degrees, well below what many pool and open water swimmers are used to. And so if you go to the Channel without acclimatizing yourself to cold-water swimming, you may not be able to stay in the water for a full hour- even if have done marathon swims in the past. Moreover, while the human body adapts quite quickly to cold water swimming, as I am figuring out through my training, many relay Channel swimmers will tell you that waiting for your turn after your swim is actually more difficult than the swim itself: You feel extremely cold, and the boat offers little protection from the elements, if any. Throw in a rocking boat, and you’ll enter the water for the second time shivering and seasick. And here is the most important catch: One of your teammates cannot swim on your behalf when your turn comes. If you don’t/can’t enter the water, your relay Channel swim is considered unsuccessful. Your team is expected to stick to the order they declared before their swim until the end.

As you can see, while it definitely does not require the extreme cold-water tolerance and physical & mental endurance a solo Channel swim would require, the relay Channel swim is no joke, either. Come ill-prepared, physically and mentally, and you would sink the whole team effort, and needless to say, on the ride back to Dover, you wouldn’t be the most popular person on the boat:)

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me via Instagram "Swimmerpsychologist" or Facebook.

In this official website you can find more general information about the English Channel swim:


We made it! My team "Out of Our comfort Zone" Raha Akhavan,Yasemin Bagana, Emre Deliveli crossed within 11 hours 41 minutes the English Channel from Dover to Plage de Wissant. It was an amazing experience. Our coach Kamil Resa Alsaran supported us in this overall journey and thanks him we could get the slot for this year!
We started at 4.30 am, and I had the chance to be the first swimmer and swim from the dark into the magical sunrise. After me Raha Akhavan was in the water, than Yasemin Bagana and than Emre Deliveli. We were four times in the water. The water temperature was about 18-19 degrees. After the North Channel experience we could say "nice and warm" :) We were really lucky with the weather. The sun was shining all the time and we had a really good mood. Emre, who swam two days ago his solo was little bit tired but despite his pain and tired body he gave everything for his team. Kamil Resa Alsaran observed us all the time and supported us.

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