Boy, 11, Sets Record As Youngest Channel Swimmer
DOVER, England (AP) _ An 11-year-old English boy crawled ashore at Shakespeare Beach on Tuesday and set a new record as the youngest person to swim the English Channel, the Channel Swimming Association said.
Thomas Gregory, age 11 years and 333 days, broke the record set in 1979 when Marcus Hooper made the crossing at age 12 years, 53 days.
Both boys belonged to the Eltham Swimming and Training Club of London, 78 miles northwest of Dover.
″All I want to do is have a 48-hour kip (sleep),″ Gregory said as he came ashore at 5 p.m. (noon EDT), 11 hours, 45 minutes after setting out from Cape Gris-Nez, France.
Gregory surpassed Hooper’s time of 14 hours, 37 minutes, said association secretary Audrey Scott.
The boy made his crossing two weeks after Brazilian Renata Camara Agondi, 20, died during a bid to conquer the 21 miles of water separating England and France.
The boy’s parents, Nick and Mary Gregory, met him as he arrived exhausted on the Dover beach. Also on the scene was his sister, Anna, who has swum the channel three times on six-person relay teams for the Eltham club.
″We are delighted with his efforts,″ said Mrs. Gregory, who allowed her son to take the day off from school to make the swim. ″It’s made all the training worthwhile.″
Also on Tuesday, Tony Hogendorp, a native of Edmonton, Alberta, failed in his attempt to swim the channel, abandoning the attempt about five miles from France. The 22-year-old, a soldier with the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery based in West Germany, ″just ran out of gas,″ said his coach, Jim Ritchie.
Mrs. Gregory said her son Thomas started swimming at the age of three and began serious training for a channel swim when he was seven, In 1987, he was able to swim the 10-mile length of Lake Windermere in northwest England.
The water stayed flat on Tuesday in ideal, wind-free, sunny weather, said a spokesman for the coast guard in Dover.
The youngest girl to swim the channel was Samantha Clare Druce, also British, who was 12 years, 119 days old when she swam from England to France in 15 hours, 27 minutes, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.