A Corbin native’s attempt to complete a joint relay swim across the English Channel to mark the 100th anniversary of the arrival of U.S. troops in France for World War I was a success, and now he’s got plans to make the rigorous journey all on his own.
David Arnold — a physician in neuromuscular medicine who lives in Pickerington, Ohio — said the 30 to 35-mile trip across cool, choppy waters, from the cliffs of Dover to the French shore, went about as well as could be expected.
“The trip was really amazing, better than I expected,” he said in the recent interview.
He completed the swim in late June.
“Hopefully I will be able to do it solo one day,” he added.
Fewer people have swum across the English Channel solo than have climbed Mt. Everest just to give insight into the difficulty of the task.
Arnold, who was a distance runner at Corbin High School and the University of the Cumberlands, now competes in triathlons.
Following the rules of the Channel Swimming and Piloting Federation, the team formed into two groups of six swimmers and swam in one-hour sessions, in the same order of rotation, from the cliffs of Dover to the French shore. The swimmers may wear only a swimsuit, cap and goggles. Arnold’s group from the US joined a team from France on the journey.
The water temperature in the Channel fluctuates between 55 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Arnold said he trained for quite some time in advance of the trip in order to acclimate himself to the cold waters. He was also concerned about numerous jellyfish in the Channel and prepared to be stung regularly.
“It was very exciting to be swimming in the English Channel and the jellyfish and cold water weren’t too bad,” he said.
“I was actually thinking about swimming the length of Laurel Lake sometime as a warmup to [swimming the Channel solo]. I didn’t realize until I looked it up recently that it is actually a pretty long lake end-to-end, about 18 to 19 miles.”
Arnold is the son of Jim and Beth Arnold, both of whom currently reside in Tattersall near Corbin.
Beth Arnold said she is very proud of her son’s accomplishments.
“Bless his wife’s heart! David does all of these crazy things,” she said. “it sure is a lot of fun for our family. I am very proud of him and what he is able to do. He works really hard at everything he does.”
Besides training for various physical challenges, Arnold’s career has led him to pre-clinical trials to find cures for Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a genetic disorder that affects babies. He is currently a physician and researcher at Ohio State University.