31st August 2003

Jersey swimmers set round-Guernsey record

Six swimmers from Jersey set a record when they swam around Guernsey in eight hours and 56 minutes. Alison Horsfall, Michael Lucas, Ian Anderson, Steven Toic, John Searson and Gerry Leonard started at St Martin’s point and swam the 21.1-mile circuit in relay.

Unfortunately, Gerry Leonard could only swim once, as after his first turn in the water he developed sea sickness and had to return to dry land. The sea had been rough throughout the circuit, which had been pushed back by one day because it had been too choppy on the 30th August when they’d originally intended to make their attempt. 

Record setters

Each participant was a member of the Jersey Long Distance Swimming Club, which has set several remarkable records in its time. Alison Horsfall, a member of the relay team that completed the circuit around Guernsey, had previously swum the same loop solo, completing it in just nine hours and 39 minutes. She was the first person ever to have been recorded doing so.

She also became the first person to swim around all four of the largest Channel Islands. She circumnavigated Jersey (66km / 41 miles) in 10 hours and 20 minutes, Sark (12km / 7.5 miles) in four hours and 25 minutes, and Alderney (14km / 8.7 miles) in four hours and 33 minutes. She also looped Herm (not one of the big four at “just” 6km / 3.7 miles) in two hours and eight minutes. In 1997, she swam from England to France (34km / 21 miles) in 17 hours and 24 minutes.

Guernsey swimmer

In August 2011, 36-year-old Adrian Sarchet attempted to become the first Guernsey person to swim around his home island. He started at Castle Breakwater at 8am and headed north but had to retire at 6.15pm after he’d completed around three-quarters of the circuit due to worsening sea conditions.

Jersey resident Neil Faudemer also got three-quarters of the way around Guernsey when he had to call off a charity fundraising attempt to circumnavigate the island in 2006. However, in 2015 he did become the first man to swim from Guernsey to Jersey, on his fifth attempt. The course had previously been completed by Ruth Oldham in 1962.


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Other events that occured in August