What are you doing this summer?

Wondering what to do with your free time over the summer holidays? Then take a lead from two incredible Reigate College students Elise Alleyne and Stella Gold, who are all set to swim across the English Channel.

From left to right: Elise Alleyne and Stella Gold

Elise and Stella are taking part in a relay swim across the English Channel this July, wearing nothing more than their swimming costumes, as they face the waves, the cold and the jellyfish!

Their journey will begin in Dover in late July (the exact date will be dictated by the weather and tides) and end around 15-18 hours and 23 miles later in France.

The team training in 13C water

The girls’ training started in October 2020 but was disrupted by the second lockdown, when swimming pools closed, and the severe winter temperatures made it too dangerous to train in the sea. Training resumed in April and May – the coldest and wettest on record!

To qualify for the event, the team had to swim in sub 16C water for 1.5 hours, rest for no longer than 1.5 hours, then swim again for 1 hour, as well as pass a thorough medical check.

As a spin off to the channel crossing, the girls have also been taking part in a fascinating, deep body temperature research project, through the School of Sport Health and Exercise Science at the University of Portsmouth. This involves swallowing a gastric temperature pill (a small radio transmitter pill) that transmits the swimmers’ deep body temperature to a monitor, thereby helping scientists better understand people’s performance in extreme environments.

Elise taking the gastric temperature pill

Support two great charities

Stella has chosen to dedicate her swim to the National Literacy Trust, as has always found reading a great comfort and means of exploring the world and senses how tough it must be for those who can’t read, or don’t have access to a choice of books.


Elise is dedicating her swim to the Royal Marsden in recognition of the amazing team of researchers, doctors and nurses who supported her friend’s 17 year old sister.

She said, “I was just so sad for Alex (who is now in remission) and her family. She was diagnosed the day after her sister and I got our GCSE results. This shows that cancer can happen to anyone at any time – old and young. We are very lucky to have such an amazing hospital in our local area. I am totally overwhelmed by everyone’s support and all the messages I have received.”


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