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Alexandria Area Ultraswimmer Denis Crean Successfully Swims the English Channel

Founder of Alexandria to National Harbor Swim Completes Swimmer's Trifecta

Four individuals in back of a boat looking at camera.
Denis Crean with some of his family right after the Channel crossing. (Courtesy photo)

By Edward Moser

ALEXANDRIA, VA – On August 10, Alexandria area ultraswimmer Denis Crean completed any adventure swimmer’s dream. He successfully swam across the English Channel, stroking approximately 24 miles in 12 hours and 19 minutes. By doing so, he completed the trifecta of marathon swimming, having previously done the Catalina Island to Los Angeles crossing, and the Manhattan Island circuit swim

Crean is the founder and manager of the annual Washington’s Crossing swim race, which starts from Alexandria’s shore, near the Jones Point lighthouse by the Wilson Bridge, and goes clear across to National Harbor. At National Harbor, Crean has been holding twice weekly swims in the Potomac, yes the Potomac, for 13 years now, with the WaveOne Swimming organization he founded.

Man swimming in beautiful water in English Channel near France.
Denis Crean swimming off the coast of France at the end of his Channel swim. (Courtesy photo)
But he’s not stopping at the English Channel. On October 1 he’ll be taking part in another marathon swim, from Fletcher’s Boathouse in Georgetown, all the way to Mt. Vernon. The swimmers in that relay team event will be Special Olympians, who are using it as a fundraiser. Fundraiser by Carrie Cohen : Help Special Olympics Swimmers Realize Their Dream (
According to Crean, beyond open swimming, one of WaveOne’s missions is to demonstrate that the Potomac is now clean and safe enough for swimming, and to nudge local officials to open up more swimming spots and beaches along the mighty river. But its main aim is to have fun in open water, and to accomplish impressive athletic feats, from Alexandria to the cliffs of Dover.
Map of The route across the English Channel for a swimmer.
This map shows the route Denis Crean swam across the English Channel. (Courtesy photo)
Ed Moser is an area tour guide, historian (Washington Area Discovery Hikes | Meetup), and swimmer.
Discover Ed Moser’s latest books and tours!

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