DANVILLE - In the summer of 2013, Centre College's Danielle Wahl accomplished a feat few people have achieved when she successfully swam across the English Channel. A year later, she and her brothers Dustin Wahl and Devin Wahl are looking to make history by becoming the first group of three siblings to complete the journey simultaneously.
The siblings from Colorado Springs, Colo., are all accomplished swimmers, with Danielle and Dustin swimming on the team at Centre, and Devin having competed at Colorado College, where he graduated in 2012. When Danielle completed the crossing in 2013, she did so in nine hours and 49 minutes, the fourth fastest time of the 104 successful crossings that year.
Despite the impressive swimming backgrounds of the Wahl siblings, the channel crossing will still pose quite a challenge when the three hit the water today. The channel is 21 miles wide at its narrowest point, and they will have to negotiate strong ocean currents and water temperatures in the 50s in addition to boat traffic in one of the world's busiest shipping lanes. During Danielle's swim last year, she also suffered several jellyfish stings, a common occurrence for channel swimmers.
Danielle is one of just over 1,400 swimmers to complete the swim since the first crossing in 1875, and less than half of those who make the attempt are successful.
"We are talking about the open water," Danielle said. "My experience is going to be different from last time, and their experience is going to be different from mine. There are no guarantees with the ocean."