Sophie Etheridge is a disabled British open water swimmer who suffers from Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). Previously, she was an able-bodied swimmer, but in 2011 she was involved in a cycling accident when she was hit by a car.
Etheridge founded the Adaptive and Disabled Open Water Swimmers on Facebook in 2021 that now has over 1000 participants. She works with the Henley Swim Company and the British Long Distance Swimming Association to help both organizations improve accessibility at their events.
A contributor to Outdoor Swimmer Magazine, Etheridge has done a number of progressively longer and more challenging swims over her career. She started with a 1-mile Great East Swim in 2016 and did a completed a Windermere two-way crossing in 16 hours 41 minutes in 2021.
Last month on August 23rd, she completed history’s longest English Channel crossing in 29 hours 4 minutes. Her swim was longer than the previous record held by 56-year-old Jackie Cobell who swam across the English Channel in 28 hours 44 minutes in 2010.
She described her career and her English Channel crossing with International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame chairperson Ned Denison in an IMSHOF YouTube interview:
- Her goal for her English Channel crossing
- Her physical difficulties during her crossing that went through two nights
- Taking pain medication through her crossing
- Her physical limitations and how she deals with her challenges during and after her crossing
- Experiencing jellyfish stings while swimming in the English Channel
- Establishing and growing the Adaptive and Disabled Open Water Swimmers group
Etheridge made a memorable comment about his English Channel crossing, “I landed in daylight [on the shores of France], but the swim just took an extra day.”
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