Centre College student Danielle Wahl has fulfilled a dream. On Friday, she successfully completed a swim across the English Channel.
Wahl, a 20-year-old from Colorado Springs, Colo., finished the swim in 9 hours and 49 minutes. She began at Dover, England, at 9 a.m. local time (4 a.m. here in Kentucky) and finished south of the city of Wissant in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region of France.
The fastest swim across the busy shipping lanes was a little more than seven hours; the slowest was nearly 27 hours, according to the Channel Swimming Association.
"The English Channel has been a long-term goal of mine for a while now," Wahl said in a January interview with the Herald-Leader. "It's something I've always wanted to do."
The temperature of the water was about 59 degrees Fahrenheit on Friday, according to the lovechannelswimming.com website.
Friends and supporters scoured that website, Facebook and Twitter for updates on Wahl's progress across the channel.
According to updates of her progress on Twitter, she sustained six jellyfish stings and had to fight a strong current as she got to the banks in France, but made it to shore.
Wahl was escorted by a boat called Sea Leopard, and aboard the vessel were her father, Michael, and brother, Devin. They are no strangers to extremes. They climbed Mount Kilimanjaro (19,340 feet) in Africa, and they do "Iron Man" triathalons — those grueling contests that involve swimming, biking and running.
In January, Wahl did most of her swimming at Boles Natatorium on the Centre campus in Danville. This summer she trained by swimming laps in Prospect Lake near downtown Colorado Springs, and Wellington Lake near Bailey, Colo., according to The Gazette, the newspaper in Colorado Springs.
Wahl, who began swimming at age 5, will be a junior this fall at Centre, where she is studying behavioral neuroscience. She is a member of Centre's swimming and diving team.