In 2016, driven by personal loss and a intrinsic need for a new water-bound challenge, endurance swimmer Howard James set out to achieve two new world records for the earliest and the latest English Channel swims. To complete them would place him among the greats of British open water swimmers and up the ante in the challenging arena of Channel swimming.
In an age where athletes make fortunes billboarding for marketeers and sports live streams are the new gladiator spectacle for thrill seeking screen-sloths the world of endurance swimming slips quietly by without recognition, its participants stoically paddling on in relative anonymity.
Into this cold pond of quiet achievement crawls the hulking figure of Howard James, a London scaffolder who moved to Kent to get more time in the Channel. Measuring 6 foot 3 he has the upper body of a Belgium Blue bull, marked with an gallery of nautical ink illustrating swims he’s ticked off on his personal Ocean’s Seven.