Czech Olympian Rostislav Vitek Attempting 2-Way English Channel Swim

2008 Olympic 10k qualifier and 2017 Winter World Championships bronze medalist Rostislav Vitek will attempt a two-way English Channel swim in July, with his eye on Philip Rush‘s world record.

Vitek will swim from England to France, and back to England again, without a wetsuit – a distance of around 80km (almost 50 miles). He will attempt to break Rush’s record of 16 hours and 10 minutes, which was done in 1987.

In 2009, Vitek set the Czech Republic national record for a one-way solo swim across the Channel, finishing in 7 hours, 16 minutes, and 25 seconds, which was also the fourth fastest solo swim of all-time. Should he be able to do that twice in a row, he would easily have the record.

Water temperature is estimated to be between 12-16 degrees Celsius (53.6-60.8 Fahrenheit). Water temp should be a trivial issue, as Vitek has prepared for much colder:

Through his position as an open water marathon swimmer, Vitek wants to draw public attention to ocean-related environmental issues, including melting glaciers and rising sea level due to global warming. He is using the swim as a fundraiser for Friends of the Earth, an organization which tackles climate changes from various angles. You can donate to his cause here; note that half of the proceeds will go to Friends of the Earth, and the other half will be used to cover part of the costs associated with the attempt


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Becky D
2 years ago

Water temp should not be an issue. Note how the people on deck are dressed, and the snow in the background. (I did some google searches to learn more about the venue pictured.)

Chun Kong Mak
Reply to  Becky D
2 years ago

🙂 this is the video of the competition about the picture.

Brian M
2 years ago

Flip turn or open turn?

Becky D
Reply to  Brian M
2 years ago

It would be good to confirm in advance whether a two hand touch on France is required.

Chun Kong Mak
Reply to  Brian M
2 years ago

🙂 Do you mean in the ice swimming competitions? Under international ice swimming association (IISA), only open turn is allowed. No flip turns.

Sid Cassidy
2 years ago

I remember in 1987 Philip doing the double in 16 hours 10 minutes – such an amazing swim – and continued on to complete the triple (1st leg – 7 h 55 mins, 2nd leg – 8 h 15 mins, 3rd leg – 12h 11 mins) in 28 hours 21 minutes. To date only three other people have completed a three way channel swim. Jon Erikson in 1981, Alison Streeter in 1990 and Chloe McCardel in 2015.
There seems to be some confusion with either the plan or the the math – If Vitek is doing the double (not the triple) and he is anywhere close to his single crossing time (7h16m) he should in fact have a very… Read more »

About Torrey Hart

Torrey Hart

Torrey is from Oakland, CA, and majored in media studies and American studies at Claremont McKenna College, where she swam distance freestyle for the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps team. Outside of SwimSwam, she has bylines at Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, SB Nation, and The Student Life newspaper.

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