Oldest channel swimmers make waves as they stage coup

Oldest channel swimmers make waves as they stage coup

One foot in the wave 2

Six septuagenarian Channel swimmers frustrated by a governing body’s refusal to ratify their world record-breaking swim have helped stage a coup – to boot out several members of the body’s committee at its AGM.
The One Foot in the Wave II team, which has four members from Dorset, were all in their 70s when they swam to France in September, hoping to clinch the record for the oldest relay team ever to swim the Channel, with an average age of 75 years and 187 days.
One of the team, Robert Lloyd-Evans, is now 80. Despite their advancing years the team had almost decided to do the swim all over again, after the Channel Swimming and Piloting Federation (CF&PF) turned their swim down – saying they had broken the rules during a changeover. The team maintain they did not, and say they adhered to the rules during the feat. They used a pilot and observer accredited by the federation, who both congratulated them when they reached France.
However the federation’s committee narrowly voted not to ratify the swim. They refused to clarify what rule had been broken, and did not respond to requests from the regional and national media for comment. The silver lining to all this was people were so outraged on the team’s behalf they swelled the fundraising for Alzheimer’s to more than £10,000.
The swimmers, including Bob Holman of Affpuddle, now 78, Linda Ashmore from Weymouth, 75, Bob Roberts from Weymouth, 74, Kevin Murphy from Dover, 73, and Parviz Habibi from Surbiton, 70, appealed, but the committee turned them down. They believe a personality clash within the committee was a major factor in the decision not to ratify the swim.
Two related members of the committee put their own candidate up for the secretary’s post against Kevin at the AGM, plus a third family member for another post… and the team felt enough was enough. They travelled to Dover en masse to support their own candidates for three committee posts.
The chairman has now been replaced, three more of the team’s candidates were also voted in, and Kevin held his secretary role, leaving the way clear for the team to again push for ratification.
Bob Holman said: “Normally they have about 20-30 people at their AGM, but there were around 60 this year. The atmosphere was electric. They thought we were going to roll over and accept their decision. But they now know they can’t have it all their own way.”
The issue has revolved around the oldest swimmer Robert Lloyd-Evans, then 79, becoming disorientated and swimming away from the boat just as he was due to come out of the water for the next swimmer to go in. Getting his attention was difficult, but he was back on the boat within four minutes. The CS&PF rules state that the outgoing swimmer must leave the water within five minutes.
The rules also state that each swimmer should swim for 60 minutes which Robert did, plus an extra four minutes. The rules don’t say each swimmer must swim for 60 minutes precisely and there is no clarification if a swimmer swims more than 60 minutes. The team hope to have these rules made much clearer, with a clause in there allowing for safety concerns. However they will have to wait until the issue is cascaded to members.


  • Tanya Harding March 16, 2023

    I found this article absolutely disgraceful and would suggest before you print you actually find out the true facts. The committee did not narrowly refuse this swim it was a majority vote. It was not lead by 2 members of the same family the committee is made up of 13 members who all have their own minds they all read and agreed that the rules had been broken. It is unfortunate that this relay was unsuccessful but it is no different to other swims that have been refused to be ratified as the governing body it should remain unbiased and operating the rules.
    This group did not boot out 2 committee members those committee members were up for re-election as their term was up as is normal every 2 years the only difference this time was a few more family members & friends of the relay attended to try to get their own way. Not thinking about what is best for the federation.
    Surely the safety of a swimmer takes priority over a successful look at me relay which unfortunately took it outside the rules that every other relay has operated within.

  • Jean Sibelius March 22, 2023

    It doesn’t matter either way.
    The team completed an heroic swim, whether they have satisfied a committee or not.
    You don’t need to pin a medal on Everest for being a mountain.
    I look forward to seeing Helen Mirren in the leading role.

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