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Text 4.4. Swimming the Channel

Read and translate the text. Pay attention to the usage of the Present Simple Tense – There + to be – the Past Simple Tense

Every summer many people, girls and women as well as boys and men, try to swim from England to France or from France to England. The distance at the nearest point is only about twenty miles, but because of the strong tides, the distance that must be swum is usually more than twice as far.

There is a strong tide from the Atlantic Ocean. This divides in two in order to pass round the British Isles. There is a strong tide which goes round the north of Scotland, then into the North Sea, and then south, towards the Dutch and Belgian coast. There is a strong tide up the English Channel. The two tides meet near the mouth of the Thames, and the strong currents they cause make it impossible to swim in a straight line across the Channel.

The first man to succeed in swimming the Channel was Captain Webb, an Englishman. This was in August 1875. He landed in France 21 hours 45 minutes after entering the water at Dover. Since then there have been many successful swims and the time has been shortened. One French swimmer crossed the Channel in 11 hours and 5 minutes. Numerous Egyptian swimmers have been successful.

Because the sea is usually cold, swimmers cover their bodies with grease. This, they say, helps to keep out the cold. They are accompanied by men who go with them in small boats.

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