In point-to-point swims in lakes or along the coastline or in channel swims, swimmers generally have 3 basic goals: walk in, swim across, and walk out.
But there are times when the last goal is impossible due to a variety of factors. In Milko van Gool‘s North Channel swim from Ireland to Scotland this July when he set a world record in 10 hours 34 minutes, finished at a steep cliff face so he could only touch.
The Irish Long Distance Swimming Federation governing cliff finishes (and starts) is below:
For a swim to be officially recognised, the swimmer must either enter into the sea from the shore of departure OR enter into the sea from the pilot boat, swim to the nearest rock face with no sea water behind and “Touch start” from said rock face. The swimmer must finish on dry land by clearing the water, or (ii) to touch steep cliffs of the opposite coast with no sea-water beyond. Swimmers may finish in harbour water provided they land as in (i).
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