Ossett businesman's 16-hour, 33-mile swim across the Channel

An Ossett man completed a 16-hour swim across the Channel - despite being pushed off course by strong tides and swimming nine miles more than he expected.

Thursday, 30th September 2021, 5:19 pm
Updated Thursday, 30th September 2021, 5:22 pm
Lee Johnson during his Channel swim

Lee Johnson, aged 42, the managing director of Advanced Electrical Services on Pildacre Lane, Ossett set out on Friday September 17, a day later than planned, due to poor weather conditions.

Though he swam faster than the planned 2mph throughout the entire challenge, he took longer than expected as he was pushed off course and ended up swimming 33 miles instead of the planned 24.

Towards the end of the swim his support crew realised he was in danger of being pushed towards Calais and not completing the challenge. By this time he had been in the water for 13 hours but he harnessed his reserves of strength and landed on French soil three hours later.

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Lee Johnson after spending more than 16 hours swimming the Channel

He said: "Conditions in the Channel can be unpredictable and on the day they were tricky. There were eight boats went out on the day that I swan and only three of us made it across.

"I really enjoyed it. It was an uneventful swim, it just took longer than I thought. The average crossing time is about 13 and a half hours and mine took 16 hours 11 mins, the one in front of me took 15 hours 20 minutes and the one behind me was 17 hours.

Lee has raised more than £6,000 for his chosen charity Henshaws College in Harrogate with some funds still to come in.

His proud wife Gill said: "Obviously we are incredibly proud of this amazing achievement.

The log that shows the route Lee Johnson took on his cross-channel swim

"We were told by Ossett through the Ages group that Lee is the first man from Ossett to successfully swim the Channel on his first attempt.

"The only other record was by Phillip Mickman in 1948 who completed it on his third attempt and took 23 hours and 48 minutes."!

Lee has signed up for more open water swims, including across the Bristol Channel which was due to take place this weekend but has been cancelled due to predicted bad weather.

If you would like to donate to Lee's appeal, go to https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/LeeJohnson41