Talk about swimmers being tough. Talk about their training making them hardened to constant turbulence, cold and wind. Talk about a channel crossing becoming especially grueling.
Howard James crossed the English Channel in 11 hours 38 minutes, setting a record for the latest successful crossing of the season on November 3rd [see above]. But even with a constant water temperature at 14ºC (57.2ºF) when he achieved the only solo November crossing in history, his swim was not judged as the most arduous in 2016.
Instead, his May 16th swim – the earliest on record – was recognized as the most arduous and he received the Pierre Van Vooren Memorial Trophy for his unprecedented efforts.
A few select swimmers have successfully crossed the English Channel and been awarded the Pierre Van Vooren Memorial Trophy as individuals who completed the Swim in the most Arduous Conditions by the Channel Swimming Association. They include the following:
2017: Maxence Paindavoine (France) in 14 hours 12 minutes on June 3rd
2016: Howard James (England) in 13 hours 13 minutes on May 16th
2015: Monica Bender (USA) in 13 hours 41 minutes
2014: Meghan Chisholm (Canada) in 14 hours 39 minutes [see above]
2013: Tracy Clark (New Zealand) in 12 hours 46 minutes
2013: Carl Plasschaert (Belgium) in 12 hours 6 minutes
2012: Catherine Smith (Great Britain) in 16 hours 32 minutes
2011: Mark Seal (Great Britain) in 12 hours 48 minutes
2010: Ian Down (Great Britain) in 15 hours 47 minutes
2009: Liane Llewellyn (England) in 27 hours 35 minutes [two-way crossing]
2008: Mark Ransom (Great Britain) in 12 hours 23 minutes
2007: Anne Marie Ward (Ireland) in 20 hours 4 minutes
2006: Sønnøve Cirotski (Norway) in 14 hours 43 minutes
2005: Jane McCormick (Scotland) in 15 hours 12 minutes
2004: Gilles Rondy (France) in 7 hours 54 minutes
2003: Karteek Alec Clarke (Scotland) in 16 hours 5 minutes
2002: Jacques Tuset (France) in 12 hours 40 minutes
2000: Jackie MacDonald (England) in 21 hours 19 minutes breaststroke
The award is named after Pierre van Vooren from Belgium who completed two English Channel crossings – each breaststroke: the first in August 1963 where he completed the crossing from France to England in 15 hours 9 minutes and the second in July 1965 where he completed the crossing in the other direction in 17 hours 55 minutes.
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