Glenthorne to Porthcawl 9/8/2023
Swim time: 9 hours 51minutes 42seconds
Start: Glenthorne Bay, Devon, England
Finish: Sandy Bay, Porthcawl, Wales
Observer: Tom Chapman
Swim Crew: Zeljana Levacic
Pilot: Meuryn Hughes
Ratified by the BCSA. This swim sets a new fastest time between Glenthorne and Porthcawl (landing on Sandy Bay) and completes the Original Triple Crown for Dina, also in a new fastest aggregate time.
What inspired me to do the swim?
It was the last leg of Original triple crown for me as I did English Channel in 2017 and North Channel in 2022. It was also a good channel considering strong tides and changeable weather.
How I planned for the swim?
I was training 6 days a week for about 10-15 hours a week. I mostly trained in sea and river to get used to colder temperatures. I did Fastnet rock swim 2 weeks prior to this swim which was a good last training swim.
How did the swim go?
Swim itself was quite good. It was a bit rough and tough swim but overall enjoyable. Tides made it a bit nerve racking for a bit but I managed to push through.
I met Dina and crew at Penarth Marina very early on a Wednesday morning. We locked out and motored up the channel to Glenthorne. We were into the weather and it was quite a rough, wet transit through the early morning darkness.
By 5.15AM we had made it to Glenthorne and stood off the coast whilst Dina got ready. She entered the water wearing standard swim costume, goggle and hat with a light on the back and swam ashore carefully clearing the water through North Devons boulder fields. At 5.29AM, she re-entered the water and swam back towards the boat and then away. She immediately settled into a strong consistent stroke, pusing through a rolling swell with a little bit of chop on the water's surface.
Dina fed after 20 minutes, a very quick liquid feed from a bottle on a string. Every subsequent feed was the same make up in the bottle and on every 20 minute interval. Every feed from start to finish was very quick and obviously well practised.
The sun broke the horizon above Wales at 5.52. We still had rolling swell and a little bit of chop. Dina swam strongly being pushed to the west towards Foreland Point on the last of the falling tide. The sun continued to play hide and seek with the clouds, it felt chilly in the shade but a nice morning when it was shining!
As the tide turned, the chop began to settle and we moved East towards Nash Point. Dina was making great progress away from England and by 10.30, we were approaching Nash Point. The pilot didnt want to go too far East as we would have to come back when the tide turned so began to push into the tide, slowing our progress but bringing us close to the lighthouses at Nash Point. Dina expressed a little bit of frustration to her crew that we wernt moving!
At 12.29 with 6 hours on the swim clock, the tide slackened, and we began to gain ground, finally moving west and getting swept around Nash point, running through Nash gap between the headland and the sand bank. Dina came to Wales looking to complete the Original Triple Crown having already completed the English and North Channels. For this to be successful, she needs to complete a minimum distance of 16 miles and with her swim starting in Devon, it also needed to finish in Porthcawl, and as a bare minimum she needs to get past the River Ogmore. This meant swimming up the coast from this point.
The sun came out, the clouds moved away and the wind and water dropped and flattened. Dina swam consistently and strongly up the coast, feeding every 20 minutes as per her plan. She began to question how much further on her feeds, she clearly wasnt aware but we now had the tide behind us, pushing us towards Porthcawl at over 6kph! At 14.29 we had cleared Southerndown and were approaching Ogmore by Sea and the river.
The boat was out in the fastest flow and the decision was made to stay out and ride it right into the centre of Porthcawl as per the passage plan. The skipper deeming that breaking out of the tide and into Newton bay would probably not be any quicker.
We cleared Newton bay and the pilot nosed the boat in towards Rhynch Point, clearing Trecco Bay and moving Dina out of the current. Breaking out of the current and into the shelter of the Pier wall, the water flattened completely and Dina swam in, clearing the water unaided and finishing on Sandy Bay, right in the centre of Porthcawl. Swim clock stopped on 9 hours 51minutes and 42 seconds.