Extreme swimmer Nathalie Pohl breaks her second world record

Nearly an hour faster than the previous female record holder

What an achievement! In the sensational time of 05:29:37 hours, Nathalie Pohl was yesterday the fastest person ever to swim the Jersey Channel. The extreme swimmer mastered the route (about 22,5 kilometres) from the start at La Coupe Point in Jersey to the French coast in record time – nearly an hour faster than the previous female record holder and over 15 minutes faster than all previous male swimmers. The result shows that the 25-year-old’s hard training and stamina have paid off. The English Channel is particularly challenging and such swims are very unpredictable – something that Nathalie Pohl has already experienced. “This is my third swim in the English Channel. The first one nearly cost me my life before I went on to succeed here in 2016. It showed me that you need to push yourself beyond your own limits in order to find success. The fact that it is here that I have set a world record is just incredible for me. I am unbelievably happy and proud of the result,” she says.

The young extreme swimmer has cause to be doubly proud: After all, this was the second world record set by the 25-year-old. Four years ago, she was the fastest to swim the Strait of Gibraltar. Her sights are constantly set on doing what no German woman has done before: To master the seven most famed and dangerous straits in the world, the “Ocean’s Seven”. The preparations for this are extensive and require an enormous amount of commitment. She trains in the water and in the gym for several hours every day. This year alone she has swum over 1,000 kilometres as part of her training and has continually worked on her technique. But in the world’s oceans, it doesn’t just come down to physical fitness – mental strength is what really decides how a swim goes.

The conditions also have to be right. As a result of the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent travel restrictions, Nathalie Pohl was not able to make the crossing she had originally planned. “Hawaii wasn’t possible, but I’ve been drawn to the idea of going back to the English Channel for a while now. It’s also currently the only region available to me that offers the tough conditions that I need in order to prepare for the Ocean’s Seven,” the 25-year-old says. The English Channel is considered the supreme discipline among extreme swimmers. The water temperature remains below 20 degrees almost all year round, the waters are turbulent and the currents unpredictable. Anyone wanting to complete the crossing needs to be exceptionally fit, mentally strong and show incredible determination. All of this Nathalie Pohl has in spades.

Next year, the native of Hesse wants to get one step closer to her target – with the Cook Strait between the North and South Islands of New Zealand. The Ka‘iwi Channel in Hawaii and the North Channel between Ireland and Scotland will then make the “Ocean’s Seven” complete.