With the English Channel and Catalina Channel seasons nearly over, hundreds of marathon swimmers around the world are looking forward to 2013.

While every swim is a victory, the world record progression for the fastest times in the English Channel is below (irrespective of direction or gender).

With the exception of 4 swims, all record swims were done in August. Georges Michel, Chad Hundeby and Trent Grimsey broke the record in September and Penny Dean broke it in July.

The record holders are an international lot: from the UK, Italy, USA, Germany, France, Egypt, Denmark, Turkey, UAE and Bulgaria.

1875 Captain Matthew Webb (UK) 21:45 (England-France)
1923 Enrico Tiroboschi (Italy) 16:33 (France-England)
1926 Gertrude Ederle (USA) 14:39 (France-England)
1926 Ernest Vierkoetter (Germany) 12:40 (France-England)
1926 Georges Michel (France) 11:05 (France-England)
1950 Hassan Abdel Rehim (Egypt) 10:50 (France-England)
1960 Helge Jensen (Denmark/Canada) 10:23 (England-France)
1964 Barry Watson (UK) 9:35 (France-England)
1976 Tina Bischoff (USA) 9:03 (England-France)
1976 Wendy Brook (UK) 8:56 (England-France)
1977 Nasser el Shazley (UAE) 8:45 (England-France)
1978 Penny Lee Dean (USA) 7:40 (England-France) – shown above
1994 Chad Hundeby (USA) 7:17 (England-France)
2005 Christof Wandratsch (Germany) 7:03 (England-France)
2007 Petar Stoychev (Bulgaria) 6:57 (England-France)
2012 Trent Grimsey (Australia) 6:55

* On the same day (August 21st 1977) Nasser el Shazly set a new world record of 8:45, Elsayed Elsadah (8:52) and Alawi Mekki (8:54) also dipped under the existing world record.

On the two-way side of the equation, the world record progression for the fastest times in the English Channel two-way and three-way are below (irrespective of direction or gender).

1961 Antonio Abertondo (Argentina) E/F/E 43:10 (E/F 18:50 + F/E 24:20)
1965 Ted Erikson (USA) E/F/E 30:03 (splits unavailable)
1975 Jon Erikson (USA) E/F/E 29:50 (E/F 11:59 + F/E 17:51)
1977 Cynthia Nicholas (Canada) E/F/E 19:55 (E/F 8:58 + F/E 10:57)
1979 Cynthia Nicholas (Canada) E/F/E 19:12 (E/F 8:55 + F/E 10:17)
1982 Cynthia Nicholas (Canada) E/F/E (18:55) (E/F 8:32 + F/E 10:23)*
1983 Irene Van Der Laan (Netherlands) E/F/E 18:15 (E/F 8:10 + F/E 10:05)
1985 Philip Rush (New Zealand) E/F/E 17:56 (E/F 9:03 + 8:53)
1987 Philip Rush (New Zealand) E/F/E 16:10 (E/F 7:55 + F/E 8:15)**

* 15 days later, Cynthia Nicholas completed a 20:09 two-way crossing
** as part of Rush’s 3-way E/F/E/F crossing

1981 Jon Erikson (USA) E/F/E/F 38:27 (E/F 10:10 + F/E 13:14 + E/F 15:03)
1987 Philip Rush (New Zealand) E/F/E/F 28:21 (E/F 7:55 + F/E 8:15 + E/F 12:11)

Information based on the database managed by Julian Critchlow.

Copyright © 2012 by World Open Water Swimming Association