Swimmers’ Channel relay record hope is sunk in bust-up over rules

Swimmers’ Channel relay record hope is sunk in bust-up over rules

One foot in the wave 2

Six swimmers who battled challenging conditions to try to break the record for the oldest standard six-person Channel relay swim have been left bitterly disappointed after their bid for ratification was rejected.
The Channel Swimming and Piloting Federation’s ratification committee refused to allow the One Foot in the Wave 2 team’s swim, saying they had broken the rules.
But the six swimmers, with an average age of 75 years 187 days– four of whom are from Dorset – say they did not break the rules and while they have asked for clarification on what rule the CS&PF say they have broken, none has been forthcoming.
The issue has revolved around the oldest swimmer Robert Lloyd-Evans, aged 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 and continue the journey.
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. There is nothing in the rules to say each swimmer must swim for 60 minutes precisely and there is no clarification stipulating any tolerance if a swimmer swims for more than 60 minutes.
They had a CS&PF accredited pilot and a CS&PF accredited observer with them on the swim who at the time recorded the swim as successful, so they are even more confused over what they could have done to make the CS&PF refuse to ratify the swim – which they self-funded. The swim also raised over £3,000 for Alzheimer’s Research UK at the time.
One member of the team, Bob Holman from Affpuddle, who turned 78 just after the swim, said: “It was a magnificent effort by the whole team and we are still very proud of our achievement. However, we are very disappointed that the CS&PF have refused ratification when clearly we have all swum within the spirit of the rules.”
The conditions for the swim in September were so rough a number of team members were sick, and at one point they were unable to progress beyond trying to simply stay where they were, fighting the spring tide and swell.
Nearly 18 hours after leaving Blighty they arrived at Sangatte, exhausted but triumphant. But now, despite an appeal, the six have been told by the CS&PF their swim doesn’t count.
The CS&PF were asked for a comment, but did not respond.
However every cloud has a silver lining – this magazine got in touch with The Times about this story and its readers immediately started donating to the team’s fundraiser (justgiving.com/ fundraising/ofitw2). Their total doubled in a few hours after Times Online ran the story and as we went to press donations were being added every few minutes. The team were also invited on to Good Morning Britain.
As one donator wrote: “Well done to you all. You know you did it, we know you did it. Congratulations.”

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