Skip to content
Recruiting now.Explore navy careers

Sailor set to swim the Channel

10 July 2018
A 29-year-old Royal Navy sailor based at HMS Raleigh is set to swim 21 miles across the English Channel later this month.

Leading Physical Trainer (LPT) Timothy Scrivener has set himself the challenge to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society and has a four-day window to take the swim.  While the direct distance is 21 miles, the swim is likely to cover up to 30 miles due to the current and tides.

He said:  “I’m aiming to do the swim on 28 July, but it’ll depend on weather conditions. I don’t consider myself a particularly good swimmer and that’s why I chose this challenge; that and I’m about to hit 30.

"Before this I’d swam up to two miles and now I’m going to swim 21.  It’s the pinnacle of open water challenges and more people have been to the top of Everest than have swum across the Channel.”

The super-fit Navy instructor is currently responsible for taking new recruits through the physical element of their 10-weeks initial training. He is no stranger to endurance events and has previously taken part in triathlons, half iron-man challenges and ultra-marathons.

But it was growing up in Dover and watching people set off on their own channel attempt that planted a seed into his mind.

I’ve seen first-hand how traumatic this illness is. I wanted to do something big, not just for myself, but for someone else as well.

Leading Physical Trainer (LPT) Timothy Scrivener

LPT Scrivener said:  “It’s like a fantasy. I used to think I’d love to do something like that.  My dad swims in the sea every day, but I didn’t like swimming in open water and had a fear of what could be beneath me.”

LPT Scrivener’s training schedule has included regular dips in the sea off Plymouth Hoe and regular trips to Dover to swim in the harbour, where the swim will start. He has also used the swimming pool at HMS Raleigh to build up his endurance.

He said:  “Training is going well. It started with just acclimatising in the sea, getting in for 15 minutes and then getting out and all the distance work was in the swimming pool.

"Once the sea temperature warmed up I moved most of my training into the open water and gradually started to increase the distance every month. I have a fear of being in the open water so at first I would feel very anxious, I would set myself the goal of another 10 more strokes before I got out.

"Now I swim for hours at a time.  Even multiple jellyfish stings have become the norm.”

Rules of cross channel swimming say that the swim must be undertaken without a wet-suit.  LPT Scrivener said:  “The sea temperature is what usually wipes people out. It’ll be about 15 or 16 degrees and I’ll be in there about 15 hours non-stop in just trunks and a hat. The distance is the thing I’m least worried about.”

Having joined the Naval Service as a Royal Marines Musician in 2005, LPT Scrivener transferred to the PT branch in 2013.  He was inspired to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society by seeing family and friends who have suffered from the illness.  His mother is also a dementia nurse.

LPT Scrivener said:  “I’ve seen first-hand how traumatic this illness is.  I wanted to do something big, not just for myself, but for someone else as well. The swim makes me feel pretty nervous when I think about it.  It was a brilliant idea; then I started telling people and set-up a giving page, so I’ve got to do it now.”

Anyone wishing to show their support for LPT Scrivener can do so by logging on to www.uk.virginmoneygiving.com/timothyscrivener.

Related articles

Navy News Magazine

We bring you the latest news, features and award-winning photographs from the front-line. Navy News has been reporting on all that happens in the Royal Navy and its wider community since 1954.