English Channel Swimmer Dies

Only the eighth Channel-swimming death since 1873

Dover's coast, the starting point of Susan Taylor's English Channel attempt.

Susan Taylor wanted to “create a ripple” and raise money for charity, but this isn't how she hoped to do it. Donations poured in after the 34-year-old British woman died Sunday while attempting to swim the English Channel.

She had set out from Dover, England early Sunday, but collapsed only a mile from the French coast after 16 hours and 20 miles of open water swimming. She was flown to a French hospital where she was declared dead.

The Channel Swimming Association posted a message on its website about her death.

“She was known and loved by so many including those at the CSA of whom many knew her personally. Susan was raising money for Rainbows for her Channel solo swim and trained so hard,” it reads.

The 21-mile crossing of the English Channel is an extreme sport, and like many such sports, it’s a risky endeavor. Taylor’s death, though, is only the eighth since 1873, when the first formal attempt was recorded.

The British accountant was cleared for the attempt by a doctor, and had previously completed an English Channel relay and a mandatory six-hour swim. A Facebook page was set up to follow her progress during her attempt. Throughout the day, posts about her progress came roughly every two to three hours—before the posts stopped.

Taylor set out to swim to raise money for Rainbows Hospice and Diabetes UK. As of press time, she raised more than £50,000 for both causes, or about $75,000. She is survived by husband, parents, silblings and other family. No cause of death has been made public yet.

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