UPDATE: We’ve added video footage of Dean’s swim at the bottom of the post
Earlier this month, we told readers about Australian ITF Coordinator Dean Summers’ plan to swim the English Channel to raise money for seafarers’ assistance programs. Today we’re delighted to report that he made it — and was met today as he waded ashore by friend and colleague Christian Roos, the ITF’s Assistant Coordinator in Belgium.
Chris waited on the beach in France, just west of Calais, trying to predict Dean’s landing point as the tide pulled him farther down the beach with each new calculation. Eventually, Dean took his first wobbly, celebratory steps ashore.
The two embraced and, in the best of Belgian traditions, Chris offered Dean a beer to wash the taste of the North Sea out of his mouth.
An hour or so after “a truly knackered ” Dean had downed his beer, dried off and warmed up, he offered us a few thoughts on the adventure:
“My swim across the English Channel took 13 hours and 19 minutes, and to date it has raised about $13,000 for seafarers’ mental health programs.
“Throughout my swim, I passed many FoC ships and thought about the plight of those men and women working on them. I hope my efforts today have made people think about those workers and how difficult their jobs are.
“On a personal note, I was surprised but delighted to see my brother Christian Roos waiting for me on the French shores to greet me with beers and a warm, comradely hug — a wonderful gesture to finish off a very long day.”
We can’t tell you how proud we are of Dean’s accomplishment. Proud, but not surprised. His determination in making the crossing is in line with what most of us already know: He will set his sights on a target and mercilessly knock it over, no matter what comes up along the way.
Dean did not spend long in France: the regulation for Channel swimmers is that they can come up on the beach and record the event with a few photos, but must be back in the boat that accompanied them and on their way to England within 10 minutes of landing.
If only FoCs were so thoroughly regulated … but we digress.
Dean’s English Channel Swim was dedicated to the 1.3 million seafarers around the world who sacrifice their time, their labor and their health to transport the world’s wealth around on merchant ships. The money raised goes to Hunterlink Recovery Services, an Australian employee-assistance program. It will provide additional services to maritime workers who might otherwise fall through the cracks of a society now led by an uncaring Australian government. It’s not too late to send a quid or two in the direction of Dean’s cause. You can find a link for that here.
Meantime, we leave you with some memorable images from his journey: