So Many Channel Swimmers On His Watch

So Many Channel Swimmers On His Watch

So Many Channel Swimmers On His Watch

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Thomas Watch of Great Britain continues to give back like few others have done before him.

The 88-year-old was inducted in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame as an Honour Coach in 1986. But retirement was not in his open water swimming vocabulary.

Watch has been coaching and mentoring English Channel swimmers for over 60 years and is still offering advice and escorting swimmers across the English Channel at the age of 88.

His coaching career began with Geoffrey Chapman in the 1951 Daily Mail Cross Channel race who was the first British swimmer to finish. He has accompanied more than 100 swimmers across the English Channel, from his native Weymouth as well as those from around the world. In 1965, he accompanied Phil Gollop, who became the youngest swimmer to cross at that time.

Some of the swimmers he has mentored include Marc Newman, Chad Hundeby who made the fastest Channel Swimming Association crossing on record, Peter Jurzynski, Jacqui Hampson who was the youngest female at the time, Samantha Druce who at 12 years of age became the youngest of all time, and James Counsilman, who was the oldest at that time.

In 1982, Watch served as an Observer on Jon Erikson’s historic three-way crossing of the English Channel.

His legacy continues.

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Steven Munatones