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Over 40s team to try for English Channel relay record

Simon Griffiths | H2Open Editor | Tuesday 29 April 2014

A team of fit over 40-year old swimmers is assembling for an attempt on the long-standing English Channel relay record. The current record was set back in 1990 by the US National Swim Team and stands at a swift 6hrs52.

So what chance do these older swimmers have, who go by the name Total Immersion in the English Channel?

Well, the team certainly contains some fast swimmers including former English Channel record holder Christof Wandratsch. Then there’s Kirsten Cameron who holds the women’s 40-45 world record for 1500m at 17:04.16. Steve West was the oldest male swimmer at the US Olympic trials prior to the 2012 London Olympics and his team mate Bernie Zeruhn swims 4:21 for 400m freestyle. The team is completed by Andrew Chamberlain and David Warren who are both UK masters national champions.

The potential is certainly there but these are all part-time swimmers with busy professional lives and families. Some have significant open water experience but several have very little and it will be interesting to see how their pool speed translates to the ocean. A couple are also struggling with typical ailments of the over 40s such as niggling back and shoulder injuries. Still, these are ambitious people who like to win and are excited about the prospect of a world record. Given favourable conditions there’s a chance they could succeed and show us that over 40 does not mean over-the-hill. This is definitely a story worth following.

The team was conceived by Wayne Soutter who pioneered a new swim route between Scotland and Ireland in 2011 and is sponsored by Elivar Sports Nutrition and Total Immersion. They will be swimming with the Channel Swimming Association, weather permitting, in the first week of August.

Image: From left to right, Steve West, David Warren and Andrew Chamberlain meet for a training session at Hampton Lido (c) Wayne Soutter