Good luck to the University of Cambridge open water swimmers who will race Oxford from Dover to Calais in the Varsity Channel Relay in July.
Captained by fifth year vet student Evie Anema, the team includes Eleanor Mason, Jasmine Eden Gray, Thomas Woolley, Flynn Ryan and Edward Cator, plus Alfie Collins as reserve.
Jesus Green Lido has been crucial in the Cambridge team’s preparation for the English Channel crossing, particularly in acclimatising to long swims in cold water. Many of the team completed their qualifying swim – two hours in water below 15.5C – at the lido.
“Jesus Green Lido’s provided a safe place for everyone to train. The lifeguards were really supportive during our qualifying swims and helped push the team along,” says Evie.
The race starts at Dover some time between 3-8 July, depending on the weather, with swimmers being swapped in and out of the water at hourly intervals. Under English Channel swimming rules wetsuits are not permitted.
Evie took part in the last Varsity Channel relay race in 2021, when Oxford beat Cambridge by 45 minutes in a swim that took just under 10 hours.
As well as water temperature, fitting in training during exam term has been challenging, as is the prospect of jellyfish in the Channel and seasickness on the boat.
“We’ve all put in so much effort to give ourselves the best chance possible and we’re all really looking forward to the swim,” she says. “We hope everything runs smoothly and the weather holds out. We’d love to come out with a victory against Oxford.”
The team is using the swim to raise money for Cancer Research UK and Parkinson’s UK. Fellow team member Jas Eden Gray adds: “Having swum competitively my whole life, I’m so excited to be part of this incredible team to attempt one of the most challenging swimming feats, and doing so for some amazing causes.”
If you want to donate, visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/cambridgeuniversity-openwaterswimming
You can follow their progress by keeping an eye on their pilot boat – the Viking Princess II – via www.channelswimmingassociation.com/tracking
And as if one Channel swim wasn’t enough, Evie is also attempting a solo crossing just days after the relay. Her solo slot is 9-21 July and she’ll be raising money for Pathways Care Farm, www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/evieswimsthechannel