Speedo Performance of the Week: Otto Thaning’s English Channel Crossing

PHOENIX, Arizona, September 16. OPEN water swimming got its day in the sun last week, as three big-time standards were set for future challengers. One of those took place in the English Channel as South African heart surgeon Otto Thaning became the oldest man to cross the popular waterway at 73 years old.


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Thaning swam the approximately 21 miles in 12 hours and 52 minutes, which is not fast by English Channel standards, but it’s definitely not the slowest time ever done. At his age, we are saluting the fact that Thaning even completed the swim. Various reports indicate that Thaning had tried to complete the swim in 2013, but currents and weather during his window of opportunity were not ideal for the swim.

Before Thaning’s swim, the oldest person across the English Channel was Cyril Baldock, who was 70 years and nine months old when he swam across just a week before Thaning. Before Baldock, the record was 70 years and four months, by Roger Allsopp back in 2011.

This was Thaning’s second time swimming across the English Channel. In 1994, he completed the swim in 10 hours and 29 minutes. As the open water season comes to a close, we’re saluting Thaning for his groundbreaking accomplishment, and look forward to seeing if his record is challenged next year.

Congratulations, Otto, you’ve earned the Speedo Performance of the Week.

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Author: Jeff Commings

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Jeff Commings is the Senior Writer for SwimmingWorld.com and Swimming World Magazine. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in journalism and was a nine-time NCAA All-American.

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