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Saturday, May 11, 2013

Swimming Surgeon Shows What Is Possible

South African heart surgeon and renowned endurance swimmer Dr Otto Thaning announced he will attempt to swim across the English Channel in August 2013.

Dr Thaning has established a long-term pedigree in the sport. The 72-year-old last successfully swam the English Channel in 1994 in 10 hours 29 minutes at the age of 53 years.

He explains, "I am not attempting to swim across the English Channel not to be the oldest, but to show what's possible."

In addition to his English Channel swim, he has also set a record in Lake Malawi in Makinjira, Mozambique when he crossed the lake in 10 hours 5 minutes in 28°C when he was 51 years old in January 1992.

He also completed the Strait of Gibraltar from Spain to Morocco in 4 hours 0 minutes in 19°C at the age of 63 years old in 2004. He has also swum from Robben Island to Blouberg numerous times including a swim of 2 hours 37 minutes at the age of 66 years old in 2007 and another swim at the age of 72 in 2012.

Throughout his life whether as a swimmer or a surgeon, Dr Thaning has frequently demonstrated what is possible as has the members of the Half Century Club in the English Channel (listed below:

What we find interesting is that two men - Dr Roger Allsopp and Dr. Thaning - who are renowned among the Half Century Club are physicians. These men see on a daily basis the frailties and strengths of the human body, especially as those frailties and strengths are based on one's lifestyle. These men are outstanding examples of how swimming can produce a number of long-term physiological, psychological and emotional benefits.

1. Roger Allsopp (England), 70 years and 4 months, England-to-France in 17:51 in 2011
2. George Brunstad (USA), 70 years and 3 days, England-to-France in 15:59 in 2004
3. Clifford Batt (Australia), 67, France-to-English in 18:37 in 1987
4. Ashby Harper (USA), 65, E/F in 13:52 in 1982
5. Joe Smith (England), 65, E/F in 14:09 in 1999
6. Roger Allsopp (England), 65, E/F in 15:30 in 2006
7. Sue Oldham (Australia), 65, E/F in 17:11 in 2010
8. Michael Read (England), 63, E/F in 15:29 in 2004
9. Veljko Rogosic (Croatia), 63, E/F in 11:27 in 2004
10. Robert West (USA), 61, E/F in 15:35 in 1996
11. Sue Oldham (Australia), 61, E/F in 16:03 in 2006
12. Jean-Paul Madelenat (France), 60, E/F in 14:46 in 2002
13. Pat Gallant-Charette (USA), 60, E/F in 15:57 in 2011
14. Linda Ashmore (England), 60, E/F in 15:11 in 2007
15. Vijaya Claxton (USA), 59, E/F in 22:27 in 2007
16. James "Doc" Counsilman (USA), 58, E/F in 13:07 in 1979
17. Mo Siegel (USA), 58, E/F in 14:18 in 2010
18. Barbara Held (USA), 58, E/F in 12:10 in 2012
19. Carol Sing (USA), 57, E/F in 12:32 in 1999
20. Kevin Murphy (England), 57, E/F in 15:14 in 2006
21. Alan Macleay (England), 57, E/F in 22:14 in 2006
22. Richard Haan (Czech Republic), 57 in 14:07 in 2005
23. Peter Urrea (USA), 56, E/F in 14:38 in 1996
24. Kevin Murphy (England), 56, E/F in 13:35 in 2005
25. Jackie Cobell (England), 56, E/F in 28:44 in 2010
26. Duke Dahlin (USA), 55, E/F in 14:37 in 2003
27. Christopher Blakeslee (USA), 54, E/F in 14:44 in 2004
28. Michael Miller (USA), 54, E/F in 16:10 in 2008
29. Roger Finch (South Africa), 54, E/F in 12:39 in 2011
30. Marilyn Korzekwa (Canada), 54, E/F in 16:28 in 2011
31. George Hunihan (USA), 54, E/F in 16:30 in 2008
32. Otto Thaning (South Africa), 53, E/F in 10:29 in 1994
33. Klaus Stutzer (Germany), 53, E/F in 14:09 in 1997
34. Morris Finkelstein (USA), 53, E/F in 15:21 in 2003
35. Bill Hoehn (USA), 53, E/F in 15:53 in 2004
36. Hugh Tucker (South Africa), 53, E/F in 13:37 in 2004
37. Tom Hecker (USA), 53, E/F in 15:21 in 2005
38. Steven Smith (England), 53, E/F in 14:28 in 2005
39. Vasanti Niemz (Germany), 53, E/F in 16:50 in 2010
40. Dan Richards (USA), 53, E/F in 12:32 in 2010
41. Doug McConnell (USA), 53, E/F in 14:18 in 2010
42. Kevin Blick (UK), 52, E/F in 14.06 in 2012
43. Kevin Blick (UK), 52, E/F in 15.54 in 2012
44. Henry Eckstein (USA), 52, E/F in 14:24 in 2000
45. Peter Jurzynski (USA), 53, E/F in 17:18 in 2004
46. Peter Jurzynski (USA), 52, E/F in 14:57 in 2003
47. Dennis Dressel (USA), 52, E/F in 12:08 in 2003
48. Jorge Rikarday (Mexico), 52, E/F in 20:24 in 2003
49. Tim Cheesman (England), 52, E/F in 15:07 in 2007
50. Elizabeth Fry (USA), 52, E/F/E in 24:39 (two-way in 13:20 + 11:19) in 2011
51. Tim Cheesman (England), 52, E/F in 15:07 in 2007
52. Gilles Chalandon (USA), 52, E/F in 14:31 in 2010
53. Mark Stone (USA), 52, E/F in 13:07 in 2009
54. Kevin Murphy (England), 51, E/F in 14:29 in 2000
55. Peter Jurzynski (USA), 51, E/F in 17:08 in 2002
56. Anne Cleveland (USA), 51, E/F in 11:33 in 2007
57. Michael Ball (England), 51, E/F in 12:55 in 2009
58. Paul Downie (Australia), 51 E/F in 12:39 in 2011
59. Nancy Steadman-Martin (USA), 50, E/F in 11:20 in 2004
60. James Fitzpatrick (USA), 50, E/F in 14:32 in 2005
61. Frank Chalmers (Scotland), 50, E/F in 16:48 in 2005
62. Tim Cheesman (England), 50, E/F in 16:14 in 2005
63. Terry O'Brien (Australia), 50, E/F in 15:50 in 2006
64. Antonio Argüelles (Mexico), 50, E/F in 12:54 in 2009
65. Jim Bayles (USA), 50, E/F in 10:59 in 2002
66. Jim Boucher (Ireland), 50, E/F in 16:51 in 2011
67. Andrew Hunt (Australia), 50 E/F in 13:54 in 2011

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