Team of Three Siblings to Attempt English Channel Crossing
The first person to swim across the English Channel did so in 1875. The first woman did so in 1926. This summer, three young members of the same family will attempt what has never been done before: to become the first team of tri-siblings to make the perilous swim simultaneously.
The Wahls hope to do more than land in the channel-crossing record books. Their aim is also to raise $50,000 for Alzheimer's research. The siblings are driven to raise awareness and funds for the Alzheimer's Association in honor of their grandparents, Jerry and Estelle who both died of the disease and an uncle who is currently living with dementia.
The trio, Danielle, 20, Devin, 24, and Dustin Wahl, 18, are natives of Colorado Springs, Colo., and will set out on their quest on the morning of July 22. It will be the brother's first attempt; sister Danielle successfully made the crossing on her own on July 5, 2013 in 9 hours, 48 minutes.
The three will be facing some of the most difficult currents in the world, crossing one of the busiest shipping lanes anywhere, in waters that often lead to hypothermia and severe cramping, not to mention the potential for multiple, painful and paralyzing jellyfish stings. No other team of siblings has attempted what the Wahls have in mind, swimming side by side for the crossing, which, at its narrowest point, is 21 miles wide.
The siblings have already begun the intensive training required, spending three to five hours each day swimming, often in open waters to replicate conditions in the channel.
For the swim itself, if either swimmer so much as even taps the boat with a foot, he or she will be disqualified. They will be allowed to wear only a regular bathing suit, goggles and caps. Wetsuits are not permitted. They must be fed from poles that are cast out their way in rough waters.
Hundreds of well-trained and thoroughly dedicated swimmers have attempted—and failed—to complete the English Channel crossing, considered the Mount Everest for the endurance swimmer. In fact, just one in five succeed.
The oldest of the Wahl siblings, Devin, is studying aspects of the disease in his job at the National Institute on Aging in Baltimore, MD. "We believe that scientists will develop better treatments for this horrible disease in the near future," Devin said. "We have experienced first-hand the horrors of the disease and we want to do whatever we can to help find a cure."
More than five million Americans are living with the disease, and one in nine over the age of 65 will develop the fatal condition. Alzheimer's is the most expensive condition in the nation. In 2014, the direct costs to American society of caring for those with Alzheimer's will total an estimated $214 billion.
To learn more about the Wahls' plan and donate to their cause, go to wahlchannelcrossing.org or follow them on Facebook at facebook.com/wahlchannelcrossing
SOURCE Wahl Channel Crossing