Ger Kennedy

Ger is the Captain of the Men's Team.

Ger is a prolific extreme swimmer with 13 x International Ice Swimming Association Ice Miles (including 3 ice zero miles, a mile at high altitude and 2k at .5C) He was the first male and second person in history to complete the Ice Sevens Challenge. 

Ger has completed a diverse range of cold water swims including ice miles at both poles (Antarctica2020swim and Arctic) under-ice swims, endurance swims, and high altitude swims. 

Captain of the Extreme North Channel Team January 2022 in there record breaking winter relay, Ger is an early ambassador and active promoter of Ice & Winter Swimming through online seminars and presentations with organisations like World Open Water Swimming Association.

Steven Stievenart

Before becoming a long-distance swimmer, Stève was a jet-ski champion, ran marathons, and later completed an Ironman. He truly began swimming in 2017 and made his first English Channel crossing in 2018. Departing from the French side of the EC fulfilled a lifelong dream. In 2020, he became the first Frenchman to complete a two-way Channel swim, setting the record for the latest crossing on November 11, 2021.

Embracing new challenges alongside his coach, the legendary Kevin Murphy, he swam multiple times in the USA, achieving the double Triple Crown and the Triple Crown of the Monsters Lakes. Additionally, he had an incredible experience participating in an international relay on Lake Baïkal.

He also leads the foundation ‘Stop Plastic Pollution,’ dedicated to fighting ocean pollution.”

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Please give what you can and thank you for your support.

John Myatt

John has always had a passion for swimming and adventure. To put testament to this, John walked the length of Hadrian’s wall, mid-winter, in just a pair of speedos and Roman Helmet. John was also part of a group that pioneered and completed the National Three Peaks and Three lakes challenge in the most grueling of conditions. 

In terms of swimming, John holds the Guinness World Record for being part of the first two-man team in history to swim to France and back. He is an ice miler, Great Britain 1k (Zero Degrees) age group World Ice swimming champion 2019. 

John has always been driven and at the age of 7 he was awarded a scholarship to swim for Gloucester City Swimming Club and went on to swim for The county and Western Counties.  

John swims for his mental health and has also helped support many others with similar conditions through ice and cold-water immersion

Vincent Denegan

Vincent is station officer with Dublin Fire Brigade where he has dedicated his career for the last 23 years. He has always enjoyed swimming and has been scuba diving for over 30 years.

Swimming has always been an activity to help with his fitness, but after discovering open water swimming 3 years ago, this provided Vincent a challenge which tests his skills and endurance. As well as the physical benefits, swimming has been a great way for Vincent to get away from the pressures of work and allows him to recharge both physically and mentally. 

Open water swimming has opened new challenges for Vincent and he was privileged to be part of the Winter Walrus North channel relay swim team last winter. 

Vincent is swimming to raise donations and awareness to The Power of One mission to help save abused and abandoned dogs.

Please give what you can and thank you for your support.

Lee Johnson

Lee is an Original Triple Crown and Catalina swimmer. In 2023, he achieved the distinction of being the first successful swimmer to cross the North Channel. Additionally, Lee holds the record for the longest recorded swim in the Bristol Channel, enduring over 23 hours during a two-way swim.

Regrettably, the attempt had to be aborted due to adverse weather conditions and being stranded in front of a vast sand bank with only 3 miles left to go.

Residing in the North of England, Lee dedicates a significant amount of time to cold water pursuits. Notable among his accomplishments is completing a two-way swim in Derwent Water, braving water temperatures below 9 degrees Celsius. Moreover, Lee successfully completed the North Channel qualifier in waters measuring below 11 degrees Celsius, alongside numerous other ventures into cold water swims.

Deborah Hazeltine

Deborah is the Captain of the Women's team.

Deborah has always harboured a profound passion for open water, and it led her to co-initiate the English Channel Winter Relay Swim with Cath Pendleton in February 2022. The inspiration stemmed from the epic ‘Walrus’ Team’s mid-winter crossing of the North Channel.

Throughout the journey of organizing this endeavour, we’ve had the privilege of engaging with some of the most inspirational swimmers. “There is just SO much talent everywhere!” Deborah exclaims, marvelling at the incredible individuals she’s encountered.

Her love for open water extends to swimming the Ice Mile—a feat she has now accomplished four times. Embracing her identity as an adrenaline junkie, she considers it the perfect extreme sport, always up for something playfully nutty… or at least pondering about it!

Rather than seeking competition, Deborah constantly challenges herself and relishes sharing her experiences with others. Before swimming, her passion lay in scuba diving.

During her first channel relay in the summer of 2020, Deborah met her swimming partner. Their inseparable bond revolves around swimming, teaching, and enjoying an active lifestyle with friends.

In the winter, they both gravitate to the lake for their ‘cold fix,’ which keeps their spirits high through the colder months. “There is so much truth in how nature and elements make you feel,” she reflects, highlighting the profound impact of cold-water swimming in alleviating stress and negative emotions.

Apart from her aquatic pursuits, Deborah champions animal welfare and actively speaks on behalf of the environment and animals. Her participation in the English Winter Channel Relay 2024 is dedicated to raising funds for The Power of One, an organization that transforms the lives of abused and abandoned dogs worldwide.

Debbie Haze embodies the spirit of adventure and compassion, swimming not only for the love of open waters but also to make a tangible difference in the world—one stroke at a time.

Join her in this remarkable journey of swimming for a cause that resonates deeply with her heart.

Nicola Doran

Nicola is proud to represent the para community in this challenge. Nearly 7 years ago, she had a life-changing accident. Nicola had to retire as a teacher on permanent ill-health grounds, and in an instant, felt she lost her identity.

Last year, Nicola didn’t have a swimming CV. Ger Kennedy became her coach, and had the most amazing year, being part of the Open Water community and braving the Ice.

Nicola won 3 Golds & 3 Silver medals at the 5th IISA World championships and was part of the 1st Para relay, making history.

In February, Nicola went to Lake Worthersee in Austria to complete an Ice Mile.

This summer, she was the 1st person to swim the 65km length of Ards Peninsula in 5 Marathon stages. Nicola participated in Ger Kennedy’s Kish Lighthouse 12.5km swim into 40ft and emerged as the overall winner.

After such an incredible year, with the greatest support, she won:

  • Swim Ireland Disability Swimmer of the Year 2023 award
  • Irish Long Distance Swimming Association Ulster Swimmer of the Year 2023.

Nicola hopes to inspire anyone with chronic health issues to discover the healing benefits of the sea. Taking that first step from your home might be the toughest, but within this incredible community, you’ll find unwavering support on the path to a better lifestyle.

Please give what you can and thank you for your support.

Nichola Murch

From a young age, Nicola’s love for swimming was more about the training and the sheer joy of being in the water. During university, she ventured into Water polo, merging her passion for swimming with a social dimension.

After years of competing in the National League, she transitioned to Open Water Swimming, conquering challenges such as the 10km River Dart, Lake Windermere, the English Channel, and the Jersey to France crossing in 2017.

In 2019, Nicola, in tandem with her husband, Nicholas Murch, crossed the Catalina Channel. That same year, she joined a 4-person relay across the expansive Lake Geneva, once again alongside her husband and two others. Additionally, she completed a two-person relay across the English Channel, seeking fresh challenges.

Seeking new horizons, Nicola embraced ice swimming, clinching world records in the 100m and 250m categories for her age group. In February 2023, she achieved her first ice mile, accomplished with her husband and training partner, Michelle Lane.

Nicola is drawn to the charity winter relay across the English Channel for its fusion of open water and ice swimming, presenting the ultimate challenge that resonates with her adventurous spirit.

Michelle Lane

Michelle has always loved swimming, and her parents always joke that she has webbed feet!

As a child, Michelle swam competitively at her local swimming club. As an adult, she joined the local masters swimming club and got back into training and competing again.

This is where she met her good friend and cold water training partner, Nicki Murch. Shell began regularly open water swimming during Covid, and at Nicki’s suggestion, continued to swim through the winter in an effort to train for an ice mile.

Michelle went on to achieve her ice mile earlier this year in under 26 minutes.

In January 2023, Michelle represented Great Britain at the IISA World Championships in Samoens, France, where she gained a Gold medal in her age group and set a new GB record time in the 1km event. She further achieved 5 Gold medals and age group World Records in the 250m freestyle, 100m freestyle, 100m backstroke, 50m backstroke, and 100m IM.

Michelle then became the overall GB Women’s champion for 1km and 500m freestyle at the IISA GB Championships in February 2023. 

Laura Nesbitt

Laura has been a swimmer her entire life, growing up in Germany where she learned to swim outdoors. At the age of 9, she moved to the UK and joined Bath University’s age group program. She stopped swimming in her late teens due to struggles with mental health and bulimia, seeking treatment as an inpatient at The Priory. Six months after leaving The Priory, Laura established her swimming program.

Over six years, she developed grassroots programs in Somerset, incorporating open water training, eventually reaching the national level. She merged her top squads with another program boasting more resources before heading to Sydney, Australia, to coach for a year. After a sponsorship setback, she returned to the UK to pursue a Philosophy degree at Bristol University.

Balancing coaching and university commitments, Laura occasionally indulged in athletic pursuits. Since 2012, Laura has recovered from two shoulder surgeries and two foot surgeries, all sports-induced. She completed two Channel relays in 2015 and 2023, securing second place in the world’s largest triathlon in the 20-24 year age group in 2017.

A multiple medallist at the Winter Swimming World Championships in 2015, 2017, 2018, and 2020, Laura was part of the pioneering trio that swam 20 kilometres down the Bristol Channel in 13-degree waters in 2020.

In 2021, she completed the Three Peaks and the Three Lakes Challenge in 31 hours and 6 minutes as part of a four-member team. In 2022, she became the first successful Bristol Channel solo of the year, swimming from Penarth to Clevedon.

At the Ice Swimming World Championships (IISA) in 2022 and 2023, she secured six Age Group Gold Medals, also being the sole athlete to podium in the open category, achieving two silvers and two bronzes.

In December of the previous year, Laura accomplished her first ice mile in Loch Morlich, Scotland, in 24 minutes and 31 seconds, battling 3.2-degree water, ranking her among the top 10 all-time female ice milers.

Laura swims for the social connections, the adventure, and the travel.

Please give what you can and thank you for your support.