FOLKSTONE, England, July 6. A team of five lifesavers from Cronulla, a suburb of Sydney, have created a new world record with the first ever six-way crossing of the English Channel – in memory of the "King of the Channel" – the great Des Renford. Renford, one of the world's greatest open water swimmers, died laate last year.
The six-way English Channel Crossing was completed by the "Fab Five" from Cronulla in a time of 61 hours and 7 minutes.
Popular Central Coast schoolteacher and ever-green Cronulla surf lifesaver, Greg Stewart, 47, was the proud swimmer who reached the English shore at Folkstone at 10:30pm local time today – after battling sea-sickness for the first 35 hours of the attempt.
The never before attempted-feat was completed by:
Richard Ford (brother of Olympic gold medallist Michelle Ford); Stephan Yates, Baden Green (1991 individual Channel conquerer), Greg Stewart and Peter Tibbitts with their support staff Kevin Nielson (Coach) and Marianne Tibbitts (project manager) – all members of the Cronulla Surf Life Saving Club.
Tibbitts, the winner of five Australian Open Surf Belt finals, completed the fifth leg in France when he walked above the high water mark.
Team manager Marianne Tibbitts, wife of Peter, said the team was in high spirits and elated to have accomplished an amazing test of endurance. "The conditions continued to be favorable for the last two legs of the swim, although a storm did interrupt the sky for a short time but the guys swam through it,"
"Greg had been sick during the first four legs – approximately 35 hours – but recovered for the last two legs.
"Over the course of the swim it became apparent that France to UK was quicker. On each of these legs it was approximately 1 ½ hours quicker than the return back to France.
"The boys completed the swim in the memory of Des Renford, the great Australian who completed 19 individual career crossings and who passed away last year.
"Des was an inspiration to the whole team and he will always continue to be and the team would like to honor the Victor Chang Research Institute and the Special Olympics – the two charities Des supported."
The "Fab Five" would like to thank their sponsors who assisted in making their dream possible: Sold Out Event Management; HYKE for the clothing; Spank for costumes and caps Team Software for the support boat.
For further information, click on: www.soldout.com.au