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Now Available for 2024 Online Applications

English channel relay swim to France

Join our talented group of accomplished swimmers and achieve something truly awe-inspiring; less people have swam across the English Channel than have climbed Everest!

Discover what you are really made of and take what you learn from this journey into many more. 

Overcome self-limiting beliefs, work hard and be ready to be proud of what you can accomplish.



With years of open water experience, our swimming coach Nikki Pope has completed and overseen six relay swims across the English Channel with the Mencap Marvels team. 


We have been featured on:

Despite the gargantuan task of swimming the Channel, our team has a 100% success rate of getting boats - and swimmers - across to the French shore.

Our team is composed of a wide variety of people from all ages and backgrounds. We welcome anyone with the commitment and dedication to join us.

Now you have the opportunity to join an adult or young relay team, led by CSA award-winning swimmer Nikki Pope and a team of dedicated professionals.



We sort all the admin and paperwork with the Channel Swimming Association.

- We organise the boat, teams and training opportunities including cold acclimatisation and a chance to swim the distance through the night.

- We offer monthly training zooms to our Mencap Marvels.

- We offer support, ideas and camaraderie to help you get your funding target for Mencap.

- We organise Whatsapp groups so you can enjoy peer to peer support, learning and fun!

We sort all administration and paperwork with the Channel Swimming Association so you can focus on training.



Use our expertise!

The Mencap Marvels have launched and landed 6 relay Channel swims.

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Nikki Pope receiving the

Greatest Feat of Endurance Award from the Channel Swimming Association for her 2019 solo.

Nikki Pope receiving 

The Greatest Feat of Endurance Award

from the Channel Swimming Association

for her solo in 2019.


 Mencap is the UK’s number 1 charity supporting learning disability including autism.  It has massive brand recognition but struggles to get funding.  Most of us know of someone within our family or community who receives support from Mencap – but we may not be aware of it!  Mencap supports individuals from babies to pensioners and their families.  Recent times have shone a harsh light on the horrific hardships suffered by many with a learning disability – during the pandemic you were 30 times more likely to die than your peers if you were within the 18-30 age group.  Tough times demand tough action & we really need to develop strong support for Mencap.  

Nikki Pope receiving
The Greatest Feat of Endurance Award
from the Channel Swimming Association for her 2019 solo swim.
image (2).png


Anyone who has what it takes.

We believe anyone can achieve what they put their mind to!

However, swimming the Channel requires a lot of strength and dedication to achieve and thus participation will be based on individual swimmer's ability, fitness and availability. 

Applicants must understand that swimming a relay to France from Dover necessitates a lot of training. If your application is successful, we will help create a training plan for you - but you must commit to follow it. 

In addition to this, applicants must:

- Attend Training Weekends in Dover (held in May, June & August)

- Join us when asked. We have a window of time for the relay swim but weather may demand flexibility.

- Complete and submit personal medical paperwork for the Channel Swimming Association when requested to. 

- Pledge to raise a minimum target for Mencap, then delight us by exceeding it! Mencap helps all ages and sectors within our community. Every £1 raised matters toward better care and support for those who need it. 

We are a diverse and dedicated group. We welcome individual adult swimmers as well as young swimmers in group structures (schools, clubs). We also welcome corporate teams, as the challenge strengthens teamwork, resilience and ambition.

The Mencap Marvels launched and landed 6 relay swims in the last 3 years. 

Among the ranks the team consists of deservedly proud school children, swimmers

with autism/ADHD, blind swimmers, single Mums, corporate giants, entrepreneurs

and a headmaster!

Beech Hall School at Dover -

ready to launch.

A drizzly first night for

the 2021 relay boat.

*Terms and conditions can be found in the first section of the Application Form.
BHS Mencap Marvels Dover July 21.jpg


In 2020, the Mencap Marvels, an English Channel swimming team, embarked upon their inaugural relay swim from Dover to the French shore -

Which they did.

The results of such an achievement can be seen not only in their personal development, but also in their testimonies in regard to taking part.

Through breaking down self-limiting beliefs and pushing themselves beyond their own expectations, the Marvels have discovered that they are capable of more than they had ever thought before.

You too can have the opportunity of a lifetime to swim the English channel, and discover who you really can be as well.

In addition to this, you will be supporting Mencap which is doing critical work at this time. During the pandemic, people who have a learning disability and were between the ages of 18-30 were at a thirty-times higher risk of dying than their peers.

Read some real testimonials of past participants below:

‘I have swum 2 relays with Nikki and they were both amazing great experiences, unique in their own way. It felt good to be part of a team raising an impressive amount for charity and new found friendships a result. I thoroughly recommend joining in an event if you get the chance.'

Mark Critchlow Mencap Marvel 2020 and 2021

'As a member of the Mencap Marvels relay team I feel privileged to have swam under the guidance of Nikki and learnt a lot from her. The swim gave me great experience and team members for life.'

Sam Farrow Mencap Marvel 2021

'It was an absolute pleasure to be part of one of the Mencap Marvels teams.  The organisation was flawless, as you’d expect from experienced swimmers who have a clear passion for the charity, the sport and a flare for going the extra mile.  I felt looked after and valued every step of the way and felt that I was part of something bigger.  We also had fun, a lot of fun, both in the build up to the event and on the big day itself.  Highly recommended.'

Emma France 2021

Nikki Support Team Solo Dover June 19.jpeg

Sam Farrow (Guinness World Record Holder) about to start - trying to avoid Nikki Pope in the water!

So what are you waiting for?

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