(from left to right) Will, 14, Sam, 15, Megan, 14, Barney, 15, Prisha, 15, and Felipe, 13, completed the cross-relay swim on Monday (Paul Meyler Photographer)
A group of 13 to 15-year-olds have overcome low temperatures and jellyfish to complete a cross-Channel relay swim in under 10 hours.
The team – made up of Prisha Tapre, 15, Barney O’Donnell, 15, Sam Trigwell, 15, Megan Reader, 14, Will Harris, 14 and Felipe Irvine, 13, who are all from Watford Swimming Club – took on and finished the feat on Monday.
Starting at 2.15am and in complete darkness, Sam was first in the water, followed by Prisha, William, Felipe, Barney and Megan – who all took it in turns to complete one-hour swims in rotation.
The team battled jellyfish and low temperatures (Paul Meyler Photographer)
Jellyfish, passing cargo ships and temperatures as low at 17C were some of the obstacles the youngsters had to tackle along the way.
However, they did not seem to be fazed and completed the feat at Cap Gris Nez, on the French coast, in nine hours, 40 minutes and 29 seconds.
Jeremy Irvine, 55, vice chair of Watford Swimming Club and Felipe’s father, said: “I am so proud of everything that this team of young swimmers has achieved.
“Training in open water for the whole spring and summer has seen them build up real resilience and confidence.
“On the day of the swim, the team bond they’ve developed was really important. They were all cheering each other on and encouraging their teammates in the water, to get to that end point together.”
Felipe Irvine with his father Jeremy (Jeremy Irvine/PA)PA Media - Jeremy Irvine
Alongside the swim, the group raised more than £11,000 for Rennie Grove Peace Hospice Care.
Mr Irvine, who is also an open water swimming coach and completed a solo swim of the English Channel in 2014, said that reaching that figure was “absolutely amazing”, especially since the target was set at £5,000.
Gemma Norris, community fundraising manager at Rennie Grove Peace Hospice Care, added: “We wouldn’t be able to do what we do without the support of our incredible fundraisers in the community.
“When I first heard about this challenge I was blown away by the dedication and commitment that this group of young people showed to training for their challenge.
“To have raised such an incredible amount of money on top of that, is just phenomenal.”
The team outside the Rennie Grove Peace Hospice Care facility (Paul Meyler Photographer)PA Media - Paul Meyler Photography
Each swimmer wore a standard swimming costume, swim hat and googles, as per the Channel Swimming Association rules, with an official from the Channel Swimming Association – who is responsible for verifying the attempt – on board the team’s support boat.
The team have been training for the swim since April in lakes and the sea and when speaking with the PA news agency before the swim, Felipe spoke about how enjoyable this had been.
“We’ve had loads of laughs, even though the swimming has been quite tough because we do lots of early morning training and three-hour swimming sessions,” he said.