Nik Haynes Breaks WR for Swimming English Channel Backstroke

Nik Haynes has broken the world record for swimming the English Channel doing backstroke.

On August 7, he swam for a total of 12 hours, 52 minutes across the 21 mile stretch, smashing the previous men’s record of 17 hours, 2 minutes that was set by Haydn Welch in 1993. He also touched under the previous women’s record, which was 13 hours, 22 minutes set by American Tina Neill in 2005.

At his pace, Haynes was swimming a mile every 36 minutes in spite of the current and waves along with the navigation challenges that open water swimming provides. 

With this feat, Haynes is only one of three known people to ever cross the channel doing backstroke. 

A teacher at St Luke’s Church of England School in Exeter, Haynes wanted to complete the swim to raise money for WaterAid, an organization he has been teaching about for decades. He raised over £4,000, which will be used to help WaterAid fulfill its goal of making water and good hygiene accessible to all. 

Haynes previously attempted to cross the channel back in 2015, but he had to stop due to hypothermia. 

This time, the water conditions were more favorable, allowing Haynes to cross safely. After he finished, he said he “felt really, really happy.” 

Cameras captured Haynes final moments in the channel as he approached the shoreline: 



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3 years ago

I say get out a monster snorkel and just undulate the channel

3 years ago

Excellent. Butterfly time.

Reply to  Tupperware
3 years ago

Ah… Beat me to it!

About Nicole Miller

Nicole Miller

Nicole has been with SwimSwam since April 2020, as both a reporter and social media contributor. Prior to joining the SwimSwam platform, Nicole also managed a successful Instagram platform, amassing over 20,000 followers. Currently, Nicole is pursuing her B.S. in Biomedical Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. After competing for the swim …

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