On August 10th at 12 noon London time during the men’s Olympic 10km Marathon Swim, keep an eye on Bulgarian great Petar Stoychev.

He may not have the speed that he once had, but there will be no one smarter than the 4-time Olympian at navigating within the lead pack and squeezing out every last tactical advantage possible.

He may do some high-risk moves during the race, but he will most assuredly position himself for a run at an Olympic medal.

But whatever his final placing, he will forever be known as one of the record-holders of the English Channel and the first person in history to break 7 hours to swim across the English Channel.

1. 6:57 by Petar Stoychev (Bulgaria) in August 2007
2. 7:03 by Christof Wandratsch (Germany) in August 2005
3. 7:05 by Yuri Kudinov (Russia) in August 2007
4. 7:16 by Rostislav Vitek (Czech Republic) in August 2009
5. 7:17 by Chad Hundeby (USA) in 1994
6. 7:20 by Christof Wandratsch (Germany) in 2003
7. 7:21 by Petar Stoychev (Bularia) in 2006
8. 7:22 by David Meca (Spain) in 2005
9. 7:25 by Yvetta Hlavacova (Czech Republic) in 2005
10. 7:40 by Penny Lee Dean (USA) in 1978

To give an idea of what Penny did, it is helpful to understand the incredible progression of the English Channel world records since England’s Captain Matthew Webb first crossed in 1875 (regardless of direction)

Matthew Webb (England) – 21 hours 45 minutes in August 1875 (England-to-France)
Enrico Tiroboschi (Italy) – 16:33 in August 1923 (France-to-England)
Gertrude Ederle (USA) – 14:39 on August 6, 1926 (France-to-England)
Ernest Vierkotter (Germany) – 12:40 on August 30, 1926 (France-to-England)
Georges Michel (France) – 11:05 on September 9, 1926 (France-to-England)
Hassan Abdel Rehim (Egypt) – 10:50 in August 1950 (France-to-England)
Helge Jensen (Denmark) – 10:23 in August 1960 (England-to-France)
Barry Watson (England) – 9:35 in August 1964 (France-to-England)
Lynne Cox (USA) – 9:36 in August 1973 (England-to-France)
Tina Bischoff (USA) – 9:03 on August 5, 1976 (England-to-France)
Wendy Brook (England) – 8:56 on August 31, 1976 (England-to-France)
Nasser el Shazly (Egypt) – 8:45 in August 1977 (England-to-France)
Penny Dean (USA) – 7:40 in July 1978 (England-to-France)
Chad Hundeby (USA) – 7:17 in September 1994 (England-to-France)
Christof Wandratsch (Germany) – 7:03 in August 2005 (England-to-France)
Petar Stoychev (Bulgaria) – 6:57 in August 2007 (England-to-France)

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