This December, 46 year old Sam Penny, extreme swimmer, cheese monger and father of four will push through the pain barrier of numbingly cold water, freezing winds and physical exhaustion in a bid to become the first person to attempt a crossing of the English Channel. In doing so, Sam is attempting to smash the current record for the ‘latest swim’ of the English Channel which currently stands at 3 November.
With water temperatures set to sit around 10 degrees and the air temperature ranging between 0 and 7 degrees, Sam’s swim will be governed by the Channel Swimming Association requiring him to wear nothing more than a pair of Speedos, goggles and swim cap.
Ever since the first successful crossing of the English Channel by Captain Matthew Webb more than 144 years ago, nobody has attempted a crossing in the Winter months, a feat most consider to be impossible.
“I have spent the past 2 years preparing for this swim. In 2018 I successfully swam the 34km English Channel. This year I completed an Ice Mile in water of just 3.9degs plus countless hours of sitting in a chest freezer of freezing water to acclimatise myself to the chilling waters of the December Channel.”
Despite his record of world-class achievements in the water, Sam remains humble, stating “there is a good chance I won’t make it, but someone has to be the first to try it. If you ain’t the lead dog, the scenery never changes.”
When asked about his techniques to endure the swim, Sam credits the support of his team, nutrition from CLIF Bar, regular cold water acclimatisation in his chest freezer, and most importantly, training his mind - focusing on the breath and stroke count feedback to pass the time and keep him in the zone.
Taking up swimming as rehabilitation for a bad back only 6 years ago, Sam discovered a passion for ocean swimming ‘well beyond the shark nets’.
Referring to himself as a “middle-aged bloke who happened to fall into a sport that few people attempt” he is determined to reach even bigger goals and use his strategies and achievements as proof that anything is possible if you set your mind to it.
“This may seem crazy, but this is just another step up from my previous goals. My philosophy is simple. I aim to be better than I was yesterday and always have a goal to aim for. Just as long as your goal is bigger than your last one, you will be on your way to achieving greatness.”
Arriving in the UK on December 1st, Sam will further acclimatise prior to his record-breaking attempt when the weather is most suitable. Regular updates will flow on social media, his website as well as a Facebook Live video covering the start of this swim.
Sam’s inspiring attitude and success in both business and his personal goals has landed him an ambassador role for Just Like Jack, a not-for-profit that enables children with special needs and their families to experience adventures and get the most out of life.
When asked about his involvement with Just Like Jack, Sam explained, “there is nothing more special than experiencing something for the first time. This swim is certainly that for me. I hope that I can give greater exposure to Just Like Jack so that kids with special needs and their families are able to be part of events that for many are first time experiences including events such as fun runs and marathons. The smile on these kids’ faces when they cross the finish line to a cheering crowd makes this swim very worth it for me”.
Away from the water, Sam loves nothing more than inspiring other people to achieve their own goals stating that “with the right planning, anything is possible, and the right WHY will get you out the door every time you feel like quitting.”
Following this record-breaking attempt, Sam will be available for interviews, TV, radio and speaking events. All media enquiries can be sent to Jackie Goldston, firstname.lastname@example.org.