Education Professor to Swim the English Channel

College of Charleston Education Professor Brian Lanahan is an accomplished teacher, a Fulbright Scholar, and a Woodrow Wilson International Center Scholar. But, he’s preparing for what is possibly his biggest challenge yet. The second week of August, Lanahan will attempt to swim 19 nautical miles across the English Channel in very cold temperatures.

“I have always been captivated by the thought of swimming the Channel,” says Lanahan, an associate professor of citizenship education. “I’ve participated in athletics and made healthy decisions, but in 2010 I had a series of illnesses and made a commitment to getting healthy again through this challenge. I have been preparing for this for a few years and now I’m very excited about the prospect of actually getting in the water and attempting the swim.”

The swim could take Lanahan anywhere from 10 to 16 hours, during which time he’ll be in water with temperatures ranging from 59°F to 63°F. He has been training the last two years with English Channel soloist Kathleen Wilson and fellow marathon swimmer Lesley Fanning.

Lesley Fanning, Lanahan, Kathleen Wilson, and Baird Sanders

Lesley Fanning, Baird Sanders, Kathleen Wilson, and Brian Lanahan

As part of his Channel swim, Lanahan hopes to raise $10,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of America.

“I am raising funds to honor the memory of my mother Mary Ellen Lanahan who died of lymphoma in 2006. I was very close to her and served as a caregiver for the last six months of her life, so this effort is especially meaningful to me,” Lanahan explains.

He will leave the U.S. on July 3, 2013 and train in Ireland until his swim tide, which is August 14-18. The actual time of the swim will depend on the tides and weather conditions. After the swim Lanahan will then go straight to Sarajevo, Bosnia to begin his time as a Woodrow Wilson International Center Scholar.

Lanahan can be reached at for information on how to donate.