For David and Richard Barnes, it’s always been about family. Even though the two brothers are separated by about four years, growing up they shared a bedroom, along with a talent for swimming long distances.
The Barnes family started out in Southern California, spent time in Kansas City, Missouri, and ultimately ended up in Utah. Both boys swam competitively from a young age. David played water polo for the University of Utah and Richard swam for BYU. But their talent would take them even further—across the English Channel to be exact.
In the summer of 2004, the brothers began preparing for the very difficult swim. They trained together, usually four days a week. With financial, emotional and spiritual support from family, Richard and David entered the frigid 60 degree water on August 6, 2005. Both were decked out in a Speedo and goggles, the only attire allowed for an official attempt.
With six-foot swells, seasickness soon became a problem for both swimmers and ultimately forced David to pull out after about six hours of misery. Richard continued on and eventually swam about 36 miles and for 16 hours and 43 minutes before he reached the French side of the channel. He became one of only about 680 people– and the very first Utahn– to accomplish the feat
The story does not end there. While David was satisfied at the time that he had given his all, he felt that he had some unfinished business. With encouragement from his wife, a few months after returning home he decided he needed to make another attempt. On August 26, 2006, just after midnight, David once again entered the frigid water, determined to complete the crossing. Late in the attempt, Richard joined his brother in the murky coldness to offer encouragement and finally, 14 hours and one minute after leaving English soil, David climbed out of the water in France. Success!
David is married to Heather and they have three children; Braxton, Carson and Madison