- Fergal Somerville
- 15:35:00 hour(s):minute(s):second(s)
- United Kingdom (Swansea)
The fastest male to swim across the Bristol Channel between Ilfracombe (north Devon) and Swansea (south Wales), UK – a distance of approximately 25 miles (40 kilometres) – is Fergal Somerville (Ireland) who completed the swim in 15 hours 35 minutes on 19–20 September 2022 as ratified by the Bristol Channel Swimming Association. Somerville was piloted by Ceri Davies.
His successful crossing of the Bristol Channel saw Somerville complete the Original Triple Crown of open-water swimming, which comprises traversing three bodies of water around the UK: the Bristol Channel, the North Channel (between Ireland and Scotland) and the English Channel (between England and France). Somerville (b. 6 August 1963) is the oldest male Original Triple Crown finisher, aged 59 years 45 days on 20 September 2022. The day before, Pat Gallant-Charette (USA, b. 2 February 1951), became the oldest person overall to complete the Original Triple Crown, aged 71 years 229 days when she swam 25.7 kilometres (16 miles) across the Bristol Channel from Porthcawl, Mid Glamorgan, to west of Glenthorne, Devon, UK.
As well as a huge personal achievement, Somerville's swim raised more than €10,000 for the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association.
The fastest person overall to swim across the Bristol Channel between Ilfracombe and Swansea is Siân Clement (UK) who completed the swim in 14 hours 1 minute on 23 July 2016.
The first person to swim across the Bristol Channel between Ilfracombe and Swansea was Gethin Jones (UK), who completed the swim in 21 hours 39 minutes 34 seconds on 12–13 September 2009.