- Alison Streeter
- 21:02:46 hour(s):minute(s):second(s)
- United Kingdom ()
The fastest individual to swim around the Isle of Wight – located off the south coast of the UK in the English Channel – is Alison Streeter (UK), who circled the island in 21 hours 2 minutes 46 seconds on 24–25 August 1984. Streeter conducted the swim, a distance of about 100 kilometres (62 miles), in accordance with traditional open-water swimming record regulations, which allows for a swimsuit, swimming cap and goggles to be worn.
Streeter was the first woman to successfully swim around the Isle of Wight. Her time improved on the previous record time, set by Mike Read (UK) in 1976, by 3 hr 33 min 39 sec. She completed the circumnavigation just five days after taking part in a race across the Catalina Channel between Santa Catalina Island and the California mainland in the USA, where she covered the 40-km (25-mi) waterway in 9 hr 33 min.
Streeter has been nicknamed the "Queen of the English Channel" in honour of the fact that her 43 crossings, for a long time, represented the most times by any individual to traverse the body of water. This record was surpassed on 13 October 2021 by Australian endurance swimmer Chloë McCardel when she completed her 44th crossing. The male record is 34 times, held by Kevin Murphy (UK).
The Isle of Wight circumnavigation swim has been performed even faster by swimmers wearing wetsuits. Oly Rush (UK) completed the round-island journey in a lightning-fast 15 hr 9 min on 22–23 August 2021. He took on the swim to raise awareness around plastic pollution in the oceans. This bettered the previous wetsuit record of 25 hr 56 min, set by Scott Dawson (UK) on 31 August 2016, by more than 10 hours. It's worth noting that wetsuits provide insulation, buoyancy and protection from jellyfish stings etc and so are considered a different category to non-wetsuit-assisted swims by global authorities such as the World Open Water Swimming Association (WOWSA).