What did you do over the summer holidays?
One Prague teacher had an extra-special announcement for her students when she returned to the classroom on Monday.
Zuzana Procházková, who teaches at the Františka Plamínková Elementary School in Prague 7, successfully swam the English Channel early last month. Despite some strong currents and jellyfish sightings, she finished her journey in a time of 10 hours and 51 minutes.
The 26-year-old, who teaches gymnastics, physics, and mathematics, had been planning the swim over the past five years.
“I was looking for a bachelor thesis at that time, and I came across the La Manche [English Channel] crossings,” Ms. Procházková told Blesk.
“It sounded like a good challenge.”
For the past three years, Zuzana had been swimming in Prague up to eight times per week, both in indoor pools and in the Vltava. That included runs between before the start of classes between 6:00 and 7:00 in the morning.
From outside Dover in England earlier last month, she began her swim towards France at 3:00 in the morning. During the swim, she was given snacks via a boat that accompanied her.
Swimming the English Channel also doesn’t come cheap: it costs hundreds of thousands to prepare for the event, with one of the most expensive elements being the boat and captain that accompanies the swimmer on their journey to make sure everything goes swimmingly.
To help raise funds for her campaign, Zuzana turned to crowdfunding.
“I wanted to save up for it within 3 years, but it did not work out,” Zuzana told Blesk. “Our manager, however, started up a collection, which is why I have additional funding.”
Crossing the Channel is no easy task. The Channel Swimming Association, which officially monitors attempts to swim the English Channel, has only registered around two thousand successful swims since Matthew Webb first pulled off the feat in 1875.
In 2017, 65 solo swimmers swam the English channel in 2017, and 66 so far this year. The 2018 number also includes Czech swimmers Rostislav Vitek and Michael Mrůzek, who made the swim earlier this year.
Zuzana isn’t the only Czech woman to successfully swim the English Channel. Czech long distance swimmer Yvetta Hlaváčová happens to hold the English Channel world record for woman with a time of 7 hours and 25 minutes recorded in 2006.