Scott Ragsdale, who has set himself the challenge of finishing seven Ironman Triathlon challenges across the UAE in a week, is confident he can achieve the feat Image Credit: Gulf News Archive

Dubai:  Scott Ragsdale became the first Dubai resident to successfully swim the English Channel from Dover to Calais on Thursday. He achieved the feat in 14 hours and one minute, landing on Cap Gris Nez in northern France at 6pm (GMT) after swimming a distance of 49km.

The 39-year-old, Florida-born Naseba chairman had left Dover at around 3am and had been only the second successful finisher that day from nine attempts.

"I'm proud, relieved and happy," Ragsdale told Gulf News at the finish. "It was a nice experience."

The swim has a success rate of only 20 per cent making it statistically more likely to climb Mount Everest.

Ragsdale, who had struggled with tides and currents — having at one point not moved for three hours despite swimming hard — added, "My crew were magnificent — they did their best to manipulate me into thinking I was doing great. I could see France but it wasn't getting any closer — if I had known I wasn't moving I would have quit."

Mentally prepared

"It was really choppy, the tides were worse at six hours in and it was very cold for the first six to eight hours but I was mentally prepared. The last three hours however were miserable. If it had gone on another two hours the cold would have got to me I think."

The day's other finisher started one and a half hours earlier than Ragsdale, which may have given him an advantage in deteriorating weather conditions.

Captain's concern

Ragsdale's captain had said if he had known the waves would have been that bad he wouldn't have left port.

Ragsdale said, "I had passed three other swimmers on my way. Thankfully my crew didn't tell me they had later quit."

"I had fantasised about what I'd do when I reached France but in reality I had my picture [taken], touched land and in 30 seconds I was back in the boat."

Ragsdale now plans to run the six-day 250km Jungle Marathon through the Amazonian rainforest and participate in an Ironman triathlon in Western Australia before he turns 40 in January.