Albany Creek Swim Club Member Brianna Thompson Swam a Rare Two-Way English Channel Crossing

Photo Credit: Brianna's Channel Swims / Facebook

Brianna Thompson has just become the second youngest person to do a double English Channel crossing, barely a year after she completed a one-way crossing from Samphire Hoe to France in less than 12 hours.

Resting on her laurels is definitely not her thing. Last 10 July 2019, Brianna Thompson accomplished yet another feat, one that only a handful of individuals have so far completed, a solo two-way English Channel crossing.

“This time last year, the thought of even attempting a double crossing of the English Channel had never even crossed my mind. And yet only a couple of days ago, I had successfully completed it in 22hrs and 37mins,” Ms Thompson said.

Brianna overcame jellyfish stings, leg cramps, the threat of hypothermia, and mental anguish to finish the treacherous 68-kilometre double crossing in 22 hours and 37 minutes.

“Although, I was fit enough and could easily knock out the kms with the training I had done, nothing in my training could’ve fully prepared me for the mental challenges I would face swimming for that long.

Photo Credit: Brianna’s Channel Swims / Facebook

Brianna started her journey Tuesday night at Samphire Hoe, swimming towards France and braving the chilly waters to clock the first leg in 11 hours and five minutes, beating her personal one-way crossing record in September 2018.

She said that her experience in crossing the English Channel last year gave her an idea of how much it would take to cross from England to France, but her journey back to England was totally “unknown territory.”

The teenager had to be fed through a tube mid-swim because the currents are too strong for her to stop and have a food break. 

“Pushing off French shores I found that it didn’t take long to get to the North-East shipping lane. However, looking at my track, I realise now why swimming through each shipping lane and the English Inshore Waters, seemed to feel like forever.

Photo Credit: Brianna’s Channel Swims / Facebook

Ms Thompson said that upon seeing the lights of Dover in the distance and after swimming for more than 19 hours, she started to struggle mentally and felt like she was going nowhere. But her crew encouraged her and reassured her that she is already getting closer. 

Photo Credit: Brianna’s Channel Swims / Facebook

“I was so relieved when I saw the IRB being lowered into the water and Tim calling my last feed.”

About twenty-two and a half hours passed and she completed her journey back to England on  Wednesday morning. Yet, her ordeal didn’t stop upon reaching dry land. She was too sore to even sit in a chair and could barely eat because of swollen throat.

Brianna Thompson “made her mark”
Photo Credit: Brianna’s Channel Swims / Facebook

Her rare feat became possible because of her amazing support team, headed by her English Channel world record holder coach, Trent Grimsey, and Brianna’s mum Elise, who had to personally raise the money for her double crossing attempt. 

Once it is ratified by the Channel Swimming Association, the seventeen-year-old’s  accomplishment will become the 33rd recorded solo double crossing and will be just the sixth by an Australian. 

Congratulations, Brianna!