69-year-old English Channel swimmer makes landfall

LATEST: 69-year-old Chris Shapland has become the second-oldest person to swim across the English Channel. 

The Shapland Swim School operator reached the coast of France about 11.30am Queensland time after a grueling 16 hours and 28 minutes in the water.

His support team said soon afterwards he was back on the boat heading for Dover, and taking a well-earned nap. 


EARLIER: LAST year Chris Shapland was the oldest person to swim from Cotesloe to Rottnest Island solo, now the 69-year-old swim school operator is about to finish his English Channel crossing.

Mr Shapland began the swim on Monday night (which was morning in Britain) and is now nearing the end of his 12-hour channel swim attempt.

The latest update from his team had Mr Shapland close enough to France to see the coastline.

He is now swimming at night-time and is being guided by lights in France.

He started in Dover and has completed more than 30km.

A support team has provided him food and drinks throughout the attempt.

Mr Shapland swam straight through shipping lanes during the endeavour.

If he succeeds he will be the second oldest person to have completed the swim.

He's expected to make landfall within the hour.

He set out yesterday after bad weather thwarted earlier attempts in previous days to cross the 33.79km distance (as the crow flies).

He will likely have had to swim many kilometres to either side during the crossing because of strong tides, making the journey more like 40km.

As part of his preparation Mr Shapland took part in the Island Charity Swim from Mudjimba to Mooloolaba, then continued swimming for four hours each day, three days a week.

He swam for six hours in cold water, did regular open water swims at Mooloolaba and Noosa Heads mixed in with regular two to three hour swims each day.

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