Australian Cyril Baldock succeeded in his attempt to become the oldest person to swim the English Channel—21.1 miles from England to France. The 70-year-old set the record on Wedensday after 12 hours and 45 minutes of swimming.
He soon took to Twitter to share the news, where he wrote, “I made it!” along with details of the record. This is the first record that has been set on the Channel in 10 years, and Baldock told The Australian, “I haven’t had that much fun in years.”
This wasn’t the first time Baldock completed the swim—he had a time of 10 hours and 44 minutes when he swam it at age 41 in 1985. “At the 10-hour mark I felt like I was going nowhere but my support crew were fantastic in their encouragement and inspired me to make it to the finish,” he said of his most recent swim.
Baldock is a lifetime member of Sydney’s Bondi Surf Club, and was inspired to complete the swim in honor of his former coach, Des Renford. Renford’s goal was to become the oldest person to swim the channel, but he was unable to after suffering a heart attack. Baldock said when the swim began challenging, he thought of his friend, which provided plenty of motivation.
“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,” he told ABC. “It’s helped my fitness. I’ve got five grandkids, and I’m able to do things with them that a lot of 70 year olds couldn’t do.”
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