Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 April 2014

OAP rules out Channel swim repeat

Roger Allsopp holds a certificate marking his achievement

A 70-year-old grandfather who achieved his ambition of becoming the oldest person to swim the English Channel said he has no plans to stage a repeat.

Retired breast cancer surgeon Roger Allsopp entered the record books after swimming from Dover to northern France in 17 hours and 51 minutes.

Wearing a pink swimming hat, he claimed the new Guinness World Record in the early hours of Wednesday morning, exhausted by the 21 nautical mile distance.

At 70 years and four months, Mr Allsopp beat the record set in August 2004 by George Brunstad, the uncle of Hollywood star Matt Damon. Retired airline captain Mr Brunstad, from Connecticut, swam the Channel aged 70 years and four days in a time of 15 hours and 59 minutes.

As he recovered from his ordeal in Dover and toasted his record, Mr Allsopp, from Guernsey, said: "I feel really, really good about it. The alternative to fail would have been very sad. It was very hard work and I had to work all the way."

He added: "My body has told me not to do anything like this again."

Mr Allsopp said his first craving after arriving on dry land was a glass of lemonade and he is now looking forward to plenty of rest.

On seeing France come into view, he said: "I thought it was a long way away and the last bit was particularly hard. I remember treading on sand but I don't remember anything after that until about halfway home on the boat."

He added that the most difficult part of the challenge was waiting around as changeable weather patterns forced postponements over several days.

Mr Allsopp has been presented with a certificate marking his achievement from Anna Orford, an adjudicator with Guinness World Records, who shadowed him on board a support boat.

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