Side Line: 1,200 people attempt the crossing between Dover and Cap Gris Nez
ARMED with little more than a bathing suit, nose plugs and a liberal application of Vaseline, hundreds of cross-Channel swimmers have sought out one of sport's toughest challenge since Captain Matthew Webb first performed the feat in 1875.
More than 1,200 have journeyed from all over the world to make the 21-mile crossing between Dover and Cap Gris Nez, near Calais, braving exhaustion, chafing and 100,000-ton container ships in order to achieve their dream. Many more have failed.
Now growing concern over safety and fears of mounting numbers attempting the challenge has led some to call for stricter rules.