US man becomes oldest person to swim Channel

30th August 2004, Comments 0 comments

LILLE, France, Aug 29 (AFP) - A 70-year-old American, the uncle of Hollywood star Matt Damon, on Sunday became the oldest person to swim across the Channel between Britain and France, the British Channel Swimming and Piloting Federation announced.

LILLE, France, Aug 29 (AFP) - A 70-year-old American, the uncle of Hollywood star Matt Damon, on Sunday became the oldest person to swim across the Channel between Britain and France, the British Channel Swimming and Piloting Federation announced.  

George Brunstad, aged 70 and four days, set off from Dover on Saturday at 9.13 local time and arrived on the northern French coast at Sangatte, near Calais, at 2.12 am Sunday, completing the 34-kilometer (22 miles) distance in 15 hours and 59 minutes.  

"The weather was good and the sea calm. Everything went well," Michael Oram, the federation member who skippered the boat which followed the swimmer for the crossing, told AFP by telephone.  

Speaking from a boat travelling back to Dover, Brunstad said: "I feel a little bit tired but I am on a high, feeling very elated. It is wonderful. I had so much support from so many people.  

"When my fingers touched the bottom I just said, 'Praise the Lord'. I was really happy and relieved because I had so many people who were counting on me," he was quoted as saying by Britain's Press Association.  

Brunstad, a former pilot with American Airlines, beat the previous record holder Australian Clifford Batts, who crossed the Channel in 1987 at the age of 67 and 240 days.  

The youngest person to have swum the Channel was an 11-year-old British boy, Thomas Gregory, who made the crossing in 1988 in just under 12 hours, the federation said.  

Brunstad is trying to raise money to support the construction of a clinic, school and orphanage in Haiti.

 

© AFP

 

Subject: French news

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