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The crossing from Dover to Calais is 21 miles directly across the English Channel. Swimmers often attempt the open water challenge individually or as part of a relay team and start in the early hours touching the French shores late into the night.

Writer Clare Conway and I were invited aboard the last relay crossing of 2016 to join half a dozen ladies during their gruelling adventure.

Swimming 32 miles in 19 hours 32 minutes and 43 seconds our crossing was a success. ThESE women are truly inspiring.