The shortest crossing of the English Channel is 21 miles long, that's smaller than Manhattan, but Jackie Cobell, 56, broke an 87-year-old record by taking 28 hours and 44 minutes to swim across. The mother of two was dragged over 40 miles off course by the tides, making her crossing far more difficult than she ever intended.
When Cobell finally crawled ashore after her 65-mile sojourn she collapsed on the beach as a group of well-wishers with champagne and balloons boisterously greeted her. In swimming across Cobell raised over £2,000 for Huntingdon's disease but as news of her trip spread the number has grown somewhat. After setting out at 6:40 am from Dover, England, she finally touched shore in Calais, France at 11:24am the following day.
Growing up an avid swimmer, Cobell ended up gaining a large amount of weight in middle age, at one point tipping the scales at over 280 pounds. Eager to shake the weight she started swimming again with an eye towards swimming the Channel but when she became fitter but no lighter she had a gastric bypass operation in November, losing over 100 pounds in 8 months.
Ever the good sport, when the exhausted Cobell was asked if she might try the crossing again, she replied "I think I might need a rest first. My arms ache like mad and my ribs are black and blue from crashing against the waves all that time. But maybe next time I might be a bit quicker."
Considering she now has the record for slowest crossing yet, I'd imagine anything would be faster. Still, what a fucking trooper!