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Sunday, May 10, 2015

James Tout Still Going Strong

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

The English Channel holds all kinds of special places in the endurance sports world.

The English Channel is part of the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming that requires soloists to complete the English Channel, the Catalina Channel, and the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim. This achievement was first accomplished by Alison Streeter of the United Kingdom. It has since been accomplished by 103 other athletes.

The English Channel is part of the Oceans Seven that requires soloists to complete of the 7 waterways around the world. This achievement was first accomplished by Stephen Redmond of Ireland. It has since been accomplished by 5 other athletes.

The English Channel is part of the Ice, Water, Fire Challenge that requires soloists to climb Mount Everest, swim across the English Channel, and run the 250 km Marathon des Sables through the Sahara Desert. This achievement has only been accomplished once in history by Georgios-Ioannis Tsianos of Greece.

The English Channel is part of the Triple Crown of Endurance Sports that requires soloists to complete the Hawaiian Ironman, run the Boston Marathon, and cross the English Channel. This achievement has only been accomplished once in history by James Tout of Texas.

Tout may soon join two of these select groups if he is successful with his planned Catalina Channel crossing, scheduled for September 13th. "I did the English Channel in 1987 in 10:33 and have done MIMS ten times with a first MIMS in 1985 and a fastest time of 7 hours 44 minutes."

But he developed a bad heart condition in his 50s fifties. After so much success earlier in his career, this setback is only temporary. "Catalina is a comeback swim of sorts," describes Austin resident Tout who will soon turn 62.

If he succeeds in September, it will have taken Tout 30 years to achieve the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming.

But dreams never die with Tout.

He began swimming with Tom Hetzel in Corpus Christ, Texas in the early 1980s. He did his English Channel swim with Ashby Harper. "Ashby was one of the first people who referred to the three swims as the Rare Triple,” recalls Tout. "Ashby who I called 'Brud' and I both failed in our 1981 English Channel crossing."

But they both came back - and Tout is still going strong.

Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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