Vera Rivard Completes English Channel Crossing At 16

On September 1, Vera Rivard successfully completed her attempt of swimming across the English Channel to become one of the youngest to ever accomplish the feat.

Rivard, who turned 16 in February, finished in a time of 14 hours, 10 minutes, departing from Samphire Hoe beach in Dover, England around 3:30 am Eastern Time (8:30 am local time) and finishing across the channel in Wissant, France at 5:48 pm ET (11:48 pm local).

The Springfield, N.H., native, who trains out of Derby, Vt., in the summers, is among the youngest to cross the English Channel solo over the past number of years.

Back in November of 2000, the Channel Swimming Association (CSA) put a rule in place stating that swimmers had to be 16 years of age or older on the day the swim commences. In a six-person relay, swimmers can be as young as 12, though at least half of the team has to be 16+.

Prior to the age restrictions being implemented, Samantha Druce set the record as the youngest female to ever cross the channel at 12 years, 118 days in 1983, according to the CSA’s records. Thomas Gregory became the youngest male to do so in 1988 at just 11 years, 330 days.

Rivard was accompanied by two members of the CSA on the boat, two pilots and one official observer, along with her mother and sister, per a UVAC press release.

Photo: Scott Ellis.

Rivard wore a UVAC swim cap during the swim to honor her late coach, Dorsi Raynolds.

“That was a swim of a lifetime,” she said after the 21-mile swim. “I have dreamed of this for as long as I can remember. It was better than I could have ever hoped. I am so grateful for this adventure.”

In July, Rivard completed the 20 Bridges Swim in New York, and she finished her qualifying cold water distance swim to cross the English Channel last year in Cork, Ireland.

Set to enter her junior year at Kearsarge Regional High School, Rivard will return to the U.S. on Friday and begin a 14-day quarantine before beginning school and returning to practice.

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9 months ago

Go Vera! I believe she’s from New Hampshire though?!

Emily Mitchell
9 months ago

Congrats Vera!!!!

9 months ago

Well done lady.

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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