Locals plan to swim English Channel

It's been one of the greatest challenges for swimmers, sort of the Mt. Everest of swimming.

One of the greatest accomplishments for any swimmer is to make it across the English Channel between England and France. Carson Tigershark swimmers Ryan Hogan and Tatum Boehnke are making plans to swim from England to France and make it across the 21-mile English Channel.

While the two will certainly be training a great deal between now and next summer when they plan swim across the English Channel, they both "warmed up" for the task by swimming in the Escape from Alcatraz even this past weekend in San Francisco.

The two did quite well in the race which goes from the famous island where Alcatraz Prison once operated to near the Golden Gate Bridge. The course is a mile-and-a-half, but with the currents, it turns into a two to two-and-half mile race.

There were 700 swimmers overall in the nonwetsuit and wetsuit divisions. In the nonwetsuit class, Hogan, who is a senior at Manogue, took first overall.

He ended up swimming about two miles and won in 38 minutes. Boehnke finished third among women and eight overall in the nonwetsuit class. The Carson High senior also ended up swimming about two miles and finished in 41 minutes.

The Escape from Alcatraz event became an inspiration to swim the English Channel as the two talked about the possibility, but admittedly, not that serious at first.

"Somehow we got to talking about swimming the English Channel. Coming home we said, 'Let's do it,'" said Hogan about the trip back from San Francisco. "We did a little research and we found out it's possible."

Boehnke admitted Hogan's more gung-ho about the swim than she is. "Ryan's a little more eager than I am," she said. "I'm a little more nervous."

She's not the only one. Boehnke wanted to use the swim as her senior project, but it was deemed to be "too dangerous." Instead, Boehnke will likely use the training for the swim as her senior project.

If everything works out, along with the fund-raising they need, Hogan and Boehnke hope to raise enough money for charity as well, most likely the Make A Wish Foundation, which makes wishes come true for childen who are battling and have battled serious medical conditions.

"I couldn't be more excited," Hogan said. "I think it's going to be awesome and at the same time we're swimming for a great cause."

Along with likely more swims in California " Boehnke also plans to swim in Australia in December as well " the two will make plenty of trips to Lake Tahoe for their training. "You've got to get used to the cold," Hogan said.

But even Lake Tahoe won't be as cold as the English Channel. Boehnke said right now the English Channel's temperature is 61 degrees as compared to the 67 of Lake Tahoe. "We are planning to go to Lake Tahoe quite a bit," Boehnke said.

Boehnke said the Escape from Alcatraz event simulated what she and Hogan will face at the English Channel.

"It's the same kind of swim," she said. "The same kind of temperatures, the same kind of currents."

But there was also something else that Boehnke and Hogan had to face in the Escape from Alcatraz event " jellyfish " which Boehnke said was like swimming through plastic.

"It was a little strange because there's jellyfish everywhere," she said. "They didn't sting you."

Even though the English Channel is 21 miles, because of the currents, it's pretty much a sure bet that Hogan and Boehnke will combine to swim a longer distance. They plan to swim the channel as a relay with one swimming for an hour and then the other swimming for an hour. They hope to complete the channel in less than 10 hours.

The two are in the process of setting up a Web site. For now, anyone interesting in donating to their cause can e-mail Hogan, swim2323@gmail.com.


Each Olympic year normally results in a 5-10 percent increase in participation at swim clubs and the Tigersharks are hoping to take advantage in an increased popularity in swimming that usually results from the Olympics.

"A lot of people want to join swim teams but a lot of times they don't know what to do," Tigershark head coach Gaby Phalan said.

Phalan said the Tigersharks have made an effort to streamline the registration process and have also lowered their prices. In addition, they've added a new group, the start club, a precompetitive developmental group for all ages. The Tigersharks have several groups divided by age and skill level.

"We're trying to make it more simple," said Phalan about the registration process. "We made it less complicated."

Those interested in joining the Tigersharks can go to www.tigersharks.org or e-mail Phalan, gaby@tigersharks.org. Those interested can also come to the Carson Aquatic Facility today, with the best time being 5 p.m., but Phalan said those interested can show up between 4 and 6.


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