The Bristol Channel Swimming Association was set up in late 2021 by a group of like minded people to facilitate ratifying and documenting swims across the Bristol Channel. Click here for "the list!". We also record swims that are not ratified, mainly wetsuit swims. For that list click here.
The first documented swim across the Bristol Channel was in 1927 when Kathleen Thomas swam from Penarth to Weston-Super-Mare in a little over 7 hours and 20 minutes. In the next 93 years, less than 20 more people have made it across.
With the second highest tidal range in the world, the Bristol Channel does have a fearsome reputation but we have so many swimmable routes and so many undiscovered routes, there really is something for everyone!
Our aim is to open this up to as many swimmers as we can and ensure all attempts are fully documented and where applicable ratified to channel swim rules and regulations.
PLEASE NOTE, THIS WEBSITE IS A WORK IN PROGRESS AND IS BEING CONTINUALLY UPDATED!!
Unlike the English Channel, the Bristol Channel does not cross any international borders or shipping lanes and can be crossed by almost anyone! A word of caution, with the second highest tidal range in the world the speed of the tide can be phenomenal; local knowledge from the right pilot is invaluable. Our pilots page contains details of successful pilots and selected others who may be able to help you with your swim. This list is ever expanding so check back regularly; two more pilots are due to take swimmers out in 2022!
How can we help?!
The Bristol Channel Swimming Association was formed by quite a large percentage of the people on ‘the list’; we have an awful lot of knowledge between us we can share to help you plan and train for your swim. A key part of true channel swims is to ensure your swim is you against the channel, no wetsuit, no additional buoyancy, no external assistance. This ensures that all of the swims through the ages are comparable; a swim from the 70’s really can be held up against a modern swim. To that end it is imperative a swim is observed and documented thoroughly by an independent observer. We can supply an independent observer or help you to complete the documents with your own observer. Following ratification of the swim evidence, your swim will be added to our hall of fame!
What if I don’t want to swim to channel swim rules?!
No problem! We also maintain a list of swims that do not meet channel swim solo rules, be this a relay or for example a solo swim wearing a wetsuit.