Australian holds record for oldest swimmer to cross the English Channel

The English Channel is 21.1 miles of frigid Atalanic ocean water that separates England and France. In bad weather, even large boats have trouble crossing, so you can imagine that swimming the channel is no easy feat. Which makes Australian swimmer Cyril Baldock’s new record all the more impressive. Of course, he’s not the first to take on the challenge, but he is the oldest, at age 70.

Baldock’s journey took 12 hours and 45 minutes, after which he celebrated with a quick post to Twitter: “I made it!”

This is not his first time across the channel, having previously swam across in 1985 when he was 41 years old. Baldock says that he decided to set the record to honour his mentor Des Renford, who also had designs to set a record for oldest crossing, but unfortunately died of heart problems before he could follow through.

Baldock’s promise to fulfill his former coach’s dream was a powerful motivator. Baldock told reporters from ABC, “There’s no way that I’d attempt the English Channel just to swim it a second time. I’ve done it. I was only the fifth Australian to do it back then, but to be the oldest, it’s an enormous challenge. It’s something that very few people can ever achieve.”

If you’re interested in learning more about open water swimming, you should check out this great article.