First Icelander Swims across English Channel Skip to content

First Icelander Swims across English Channel

Icelandic swimmer, Benedikt Hjartarson, 51, managed to swim across the English Channel around midnight yesterday and became the first Icelander to do so. It was Hjartarson’s second attempt at crossing the channel.

Two other Icelanders have also tried swimming across the English Channel, but unsuccessfully, Morgunbladid reports.

“It was like both my arms had been torn off,” said Hjartarson after reaching his goal last night. “Then I missed the cape where people usually swim ashore, which meant that the swim became two and a half hours longer. But I made it.” The swim took 16 hours.

“It was so amazing to crawl up the sandy beach in France that I cannot describe it with words,” Hjartarson said. “I had been prepared to quit seven hours before I swam ashore. The captain just refused to let me onboard.”

Hjartarson’s supporters, who followed him on a boat, were very disappointed when the ocean currents drove him away from the cape. One of them, Gréta Ingthórsdóttir, said the last few hours had been almost unbearable.

But captain Andy King remained calm, made Hjartarson swim out to the ocean again and then into a small bay east of the cape where the currents were not as strong.

Around 900 people have managed to swim across the English Channel.

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