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Channel Challenge Swim Success

120 cheery swimmers braved the autumn storms on the Atlantic coast on Saturday 28th September 2013 to swim 22 miles, the distance of the English Channel, in a team relay event held at Bude Sea Pool.

The ten teams from around the country started at 7am sharp; swam through sunshine, showers and a small thunderstorm and — in an amazing effort — were all finished by 8pm. Each team completed 440 lengths of the historic tidal swimming pool in North Cornwall. For some swimmers in teams of 22 people that meant completing 20 lengths and a mile apiece. For one pair of training Channel swimmers, that meant swimming 220 lengths each!

Olympic medallist and open water swimmer Cassandra Patten swam a mile for the FoBSP team. Cassie travelled to Bude specifically to support this event, and was a huge hit with spectators. Together with the mayor Paula Dolphin, Cassie drew the names of the prize draw winners who won some fabulous prizes provided by swimwear specialist, www.blueseventy.co.uk

The Just Swim team who travelled from Bournemouth to take part said: ‘thank you for a fabulous event – superb organisation, fab refreshments. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and can’t wait to come back again soon.’

Garry Sibbald, who swam for the ‘Four Men and a Pink Lady’ team said: ‘We had the most brilliant weekend in Bude taking part in the Channel Challenge. You’ve got a great treasure there and I hope our teams efforts on Saturday have gone a little way towards helping you in maintaining it.’


  • Five local teams – Surf Life Savers, FoBSP, FJ-RATs, Lundy and Hammond H2O – were joined by five other teams from across the UK
  • 120 swimmers clocked up 220 miles in Bude’s historic tidal swimming pool and swam an amazing 4400 lengths of the pool in total
  • Bude’s Mayor, Paula Dolphin, welcomed Cassie to the town and the two ladies compared ‘badges of office’. All agreed that Cassandra’s medal was probably more impressive.
  • The sea water in the Pool had been topped up by the tide the day before and was a refreshing 16-deg C. Suzanne Masters, swimming for the Surf Life Saving Club, completed her lengths wearing only a bikini!
  • Similarly, the Dorset Duo of Alison Budynkiewicz and Mark Vides were swimming to Channel rules, which meant they wore only standard swimsuits – no wetsuits – and completed the 22 mile distance between them. After the event, Ali commented: ‘without the hot tea and big smiles it would have been much harder!’
  • The first team to finish the distance was one of the smaller groups of four swimmers, local lads Lundy: Gary Readman, Steve Maclure, Guy Rolston, and Tim Moyle.
  • James Marshall, who swam two miles for FoBSP, produced one of the fastest turns of the day, scampering through his 40 lengths in a little over 45 minutes.
  • This event was generously supported by blueseventy (who provided prizes for the participants’ draw); Rosie’s Kitchen (who provided hot drinks for all swimmers and a snug place to warm up), and many local businesses who donated cakes and snacks to sustain the stalwart swimmers: Lansdown Dairy, Lansdowne Bakery, The Granary, The Bakery, Tasty Pasties, Sainsburys and the Co-op.
  • In the prize draw, the fabulous first prize of a blueseventy swimmer’s wetsuit went to Alison Stroudley of Bude SLSC. Jon Yorsten won the runner-up prize, with Lara Trewin taking third prize – all generously provided by swimgear specialist blueseventy.
  • Mel Bardsley, who teaches at Budehaven Community School, completed her mile and the last lengths for the FoBSP team in twilight. Mel was the driving force behind the event: it was her idea and she worked tirelessly to make it such a success.
  • And finally… local man James ‘Fluffy’ Wilson deserves extra credit. Fluffy swam his lengths in the morning and then dashed off – to get married.

The Channel Challenge helped to raise over £1000 for FoBSP, the charity which runs Bude Sea Pool. FoBSP must pay for the Pool’s maintenance, lifeguarding and ongoing restoration from membership, donations, sponsorship and events like this.

FoBSP needs YOUR support to keep the Sea Pool open.

Here’s how to make a donation: www.budeseapool.net/donate

Or you can join FoBSP for just £10: www.budeseapool.net/join

You can see more photos and video clips from this event on our Facebook page: