Age Is No Limit In The English Channel

Age Is No Limit In The English Channel

There is a growing trend to older individuals attempting and succeeding at marathon swims.

64-year-old Sue Oldham of Australia set another bar for this demographic with her 17 hour and 11 minute crossing of the English Channel this week.

Sue told PerthNow, “Every hour of the swim I thought about someone special in my life, and that would motivate me to continue – that’s what took me to the end. When you start something you have to finish it, don’t you? No point in getting out when it gets a bit tough.”

That grit and determination is admirable at any age. These adventurers prove that some things do get better with age:

1. George Brunstad (USA), 70, England-to-France in 15:59 in 2004
2. Clifford Batts (Australia), 67, France-to-English in 18:37 in 1987
3. Ashby Harper (USA), 65, E/F in 13:52 in 1982
4. Roger Allsopp (England), 65, E/F in 15:30 in 2006
5. Sue Oldham (Australia), 65, E/F in 17:11 in 2010
6. Michael Read (England), 63, E/F in 15:29 in 2004
7. Veljko Rogosic (Croatia), 63, E/F in 11:27 in 2004
8. Robert West (USA), 61, E/F in 15:35 in 1996
9. Sue Oldham (Australia), 61, E/F in 16:03 in 2006
10. Jean-Paul Madelenat (France), 60, E/F in 14:46 in 2002
11. Linda Ashmore (England), 60, E/F in 15:11 in 2007
12. Vijaya Claxton (USA), 59, E/F in 22:27 in 2007
13. James (Doc) Counsilman (USA), 58, E/F in 13:07
14. Mo Siegel(USA), 58, E/F in 14:
15. Carol Sing (USA), 57, E/F in 12:32 in 1999
16. Kevin Murphy (England), 57, E/F in 15:14 in 2006
17. Alan Macleay (England), 57, E/F in 22:14 in 2006
18. Peter Urrea (USA), 56, E/F in 14:38 in 1996
19. Kevin Murphy (England), 56, E/F in 13:35 in 2005
20. Jackie Cobell (England), 56, E/F in 28:44 in 2010
21. Duke Dahlin (USA), 55, E/F in 14:37 in 2003
22. Christopher Blakeslee (USA), 54, E/F in 14:44 in 2004
23. Michael Miller (USA), 54, E/F in 16:10 in 2008
24. Otto Thaning (South Africa), 53, E/F in 10:29 in 1994
25. Klaus Stutzer (Germany), 53, E/F in 14:09 in 1997
26. Morris Finkelstein (USA), 53, E/F in 15:21 in 2003
27. Peter Jurzynski (USA), 53, E/F in 17:18 in 2004
28. Bill Hoehn (USA), 53, E/F in 15:53 in 2004
29. Hugh Tucker (South Africa), 53, E/F in 13:37 in 2004
30. Tom Hecker (USA), 53, E/F in 15:21 in 2005
31. Steven Smith (England), 53, E/F in 14:28 in 2005
32. Henry Eckstein (USA), 52, E/F in 14:24 in 2000
33. Peter Jurzynski (USA), 52, E/F in 14:57 in 2003
34. Dennis Dressel (USA), 52, E/F in 12:08 in 2003
35. Jorge Rikarday (Mexico), 52, E/F in 20:24 in 2003
36. Tim Cheesman (England), 52, E/F in 15:07 in 2007
37. Kevin Murphy (England), 51, E/F in 14:29 in 2000
38. Peter Jurzynski (USA), 51, E/F in 17:08 in 2002
39. Anne Cleveland (USA), 51, E/F in 11:33 in 2007
40. Nancy Steadman-Martin (USA), 50, E/F in 11:20 in 2004
41. James Fitzpatrick (USA), 50, E/F in 14:32 in 2005
42. Frank Chalmers (Scotland), 50, E/F in 16:48 in 2005
43. Timothy Cheesman (England), 50, E/F in 16:14 in 2005
44. Terry O’Brien (Australia), 50, E/F in 15:50 in 2006
45. Antonio Argüelles (Mexico), 50, E/F in 12:54 in 2009

Like the significant increase in women in the sport of marathon running, as the opportunities for older women to participate in endurance sports increases, this list will undoubtedly swing to include many more females over the next generation.

In a sign of this future, we note that 51% of the 14,000+ individuals who participate in the Great Swims in England are female – and we suspect some of these individuals will be cracking this list over time.

Photo of Sue Oldham by PerthNow. Data based on Julian Critchlow’s database.

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