Kirstie Beechey, Sarah Newman First to Swim From Harry Rocks to The Needles in English Channel

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The English Channel has been crossed by swimmers on record for more than a century.

But most crossings happen between similar points, on in England and the other across the channel in France.

Kirstie Beechey was determined to swim the channel from one of her favorite points to another, so she set out with Sarah Newman to make the trek from the Harry Rocks to The Needles, both points in the UK, swimming West to East instead of North to South.

It is the first recorded swim by individuals between the two famous points of the English coastline.

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Photo Courtesy: Kirstie Beechey

“I chose the specific points as they are both visible from the bay where I do most of my along-shore training,” Kirstie Beechey told Swimming World. “No one has ever done it solo and I’ve been wondering for a long while if it was possible.”

Swimming West to East in the channel provides different conditions than a traditional crossing.

Beechey has trained in that area, but was unsure she could make the difficult swim in its entirety. That all changed on Sept. 13 when it took 9 hours, 54 minutes to swim the 16.4 miles from Harry Rocks to The Needles.

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Photo Courtesy: Kirstie Beechey

“Now when I look out from shore I can say that I’ve swum from there to there and it will help my confidence on the days when I’m doubting my ability during training. There are lots of swimmers who train accoss the bay and It will hopefully show others that the crossing is possible and hopefully it will catch on and become a popular crossing for many,” she said.

Many, including Kirstie Beechey again.

“I definitely want to do it again — as many times as the tide/weather allow. You need a quite specific set of conditions,” she said.

But now, she proved it is doable.

Check out more of Beechey’s reflections on the trip here. She is also raising funds to help her attempt to cross the channel in 2021.

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Photo Courtesy: Kirstie Beechey

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Photo Courtesy: Kirstie Beechey