Woman Swims English Channel Four Times, Gets Stung By Jellyfish For Her Reward

An American cancer survivor has become the first person to swim across the English Channel four times back-to-back.

The incredible feat took Sarah Thomas, 37, about 54 hours to complete the 209 kilometre swim.

While four others have completed the journey across the Channel three times, Thomas is the first person to successfully complete it four times.

The event was live-streamed on Facebook, and Thomas admitted to feeling "a little sick" but said she had been encouraged to "keep going" by her husband and her team.

Sarah Thomas' swim route. Photo: Channel Swimming and Piloting Federation.

She kept her energy up with electrolytes and caffeine-filled drinks to get her through the momentous swim.

In front of a group of supporters, Thomas swam into Dover, on the English southeastern coast at about 6.30am on Tuesday.

Thomas' trip should have only about 129 kilometres, but tidal waves pulling at her added an extra 80 kilometres to her swim -- or 60 percent more than the intended journey.

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But aside from the challenging swim, Thomas also had to contend with jellyfish continually stinging her.

A photo of Thomas after the swim shows her face swollen from the unforgiving jellyfish.

Photo: Jon Washer

Being in salt water for more than two days was also a struggle, Thomas told the BBC after her historic swim.

"Sealing with the salt water... it really hurts your throat, your mouth and your tongue," she said.

Thomas, who finished treatment from breast cancer in 2018, dedicated her swim to cancer sufferers and survivors in a Facebook post on Saturday.

"This is for those of us who have prayed for our lives, who have wondered with despair about what comes next, and have battled through pain and fear to overcome," she said.

"This is for those of you just starting your cancer journey and those of you who are thriving with cancer kicked firmly into the past, and for everyone in between."

Photo: PA

For those wanting to swim the Channel themselves, there are strict rules that must be followed.

According the Channel Swimming and Piloting Federation, only a cap, goggles and a swimsuit are permitted to be worn by those attempting an official crossing of the Channel. Thomas adhered to all rules.