John Tierney Solo Swim of the English Channel

Thank you all

Here is a piece written by James Norton, our Ace Serpentine Swimming pundit.

Third time lucky for Hibernian hero John Tierney who after two warm-up swims surged across the Channel to France on Monday August 14th.

With just a couple of hours notice, support team Stu and Debs Bowman and James Norton bundled John down to Dover, picking up a shady character touting for business on the quayside, who turned out as the sun rose far out to sea to be Rob Ouldcott having just delivered second-time Spanish Serps superman Dani Lobo to France again.

With pilot Lance Oram at the helm of Sea Satin, Tierney sat in the sea at 4.04am and exited Britain with gusto, splashing merrily towards the continent on a diet of hand-squashed bananas and Tunnocks teacakes.

By noon the sun had ironed out the lumpy waves and with a mighty heave John surged through the separation zone.

The crew decided to let him Stu for an hour which did a power of good, the support swimmer selflessly throwing himself in the path of a vicious jellyfish and taking one for the big man. 

Would a second swimmer be denied a cooling dip in the gorgeous green waters of the French inshore? Norton your life!

In an epic final push John took aim at the golden sands beside a charming French village – Wissant that the plan all along? Not wanting to Rob the crew of his trail of glory, Ouldcott, as he does, drafted in John’s slipstream as tearful Tierney jogged out of the surf, Chariots of Ireland, a staggering 14 hour and 37 minute Channel triumph, the gang of foreshore hanging out the flags for an amazed French welcoming committee.

And finally, a note from the swimmer i.e Me.

In three attempts, I always believed I would make it to France, after all, why sign up for something you don’t think you can achieve? And something akin to Kipling’s lines of treating the two imposters of success and failure just the same, well, I came back to Serps the morning after each swim - two incomplete swims in the English Channel, which is very different to my 'English Channel swim'.

Vitally, personal thanks were made personally, and thank you to all the Serpentine swimmers who over the years, swam, guided, cajoled, crewed and believed in me. And to anyone looking to do the same, I'm happy to help in whatever way possible.

And what a club to return to, lucky me to be yet just one more Serpentine Swimming Club English Channel Solo Swimmer. 

Yours swimmingly

John Tierney