Don Riddington is now Australia's oldest channel swimmer ever.

don flexing He made it!! Don swam the channel in 19hrs and 45 minutes and glided into the record books as the oldest Aussie ever to do so. If you have ambitions to live this dream and don't know where to start, click here. For the full account of his swim, click here. Hear Don Talk about this remarkable feet of endurance "The Power of 2" is the entertaining talk that Don and his coach Grant will be delivering over the coming months. If you are interested in hearing this engaging and inspiring talk, contact us for a quote: info@spirited-away.com.au (+61 423 118 036) The talk is 45 minutes long and has high quality photos and video to enhance the live performance. We can also tailor the talk to suit your needs. The central themes of the talk are:
  • Vision - a strong enough vision provides incredible motivation
  • Trust - working with a coach/mentor/advisor involves trust
  • Commitment - both parties must be committed to success
  • Execution - In high pressure situations, things can go wrong
Think you might like to swim the Channel? Not sure where to start? Click here - go on, we dare you. That's what we have been saying about this amazing young 68 year fella! After playing Lacrosse for Australia some years ago, he then decided to take up swimming and is now about to take on the HOLY GRAIL!! THE ENGLISH CHANNEL awaits Don in mid July this year - that's right, about 6 weeks away. The channel is just under 34km in width (21 miles), Dover to Calias, although who knows where the swimmer may land! It all depends on the tides and the tides take you up to 12 miles in a sideways direction. Don is proudly supporting the cause of Autism. You can donate here. Don is swimming with the Boat Anastasia, within the Channel Swimming and Piloting Federation body. His Pilot Eddie Spelling is one of the most experienced boatmen on the Channel so he is in safe hands. I swam with Eddie last year so we have met. He is a straight shooter who knows exactly what he is doing. Screen Shot 2013-07-01 at 9.20.00 AM We will be using a combination of the following social media platforms to share the experience with you!!
  1. Twitter - click here
  2. Facebook - click here
  3. Boat tracker - click here (only active on the day, search for Anastasia)
  4. Alternative boat tracker - click here
Don has been training regularly for about 4 years for this amazing adventure and his home base is with the Brighton Icebergers of Melbourne. He trains under the guidance of his friend and coach Grant Siedle, who also swims there and together they have embarked on this remarkable journey. Don swims both pool-squad sessions with legendary marathon swimmer and coach John Van Wisse 2 - 3 times per week and in the bay another 3 - 4 times per week, averaging from 20 - 30km each week. Cold water acclimatisation is also part of the process as the English Channel is likely to be about 15 - 17 degrees celcius and he will NOT be wearing a wetsuit.

The English Channel

The English Channel is the most famous body of water that swimmers attempt to cross. It has a rich history with many failed attempts since Matthew Webb first crossed in 1875. The the three biggest challenges of the Channel are: 1. Distance -34km 2. Low temperature (12 - 16 degrees in the swimming season) 3. Strong and very unpredictable tides Swimmers must train for several years to prepare themselves physically and mentally. Acclimation to cold water is one the key aspects. If swimmers are lean, they typically need to put on 10-15% of their current body weight to avoid hypothermia, which is one of the biggest factors in failed attempts. The Pilots who accompany the swimmers by boat to keep them safe are also a critical part of success as they understand the tides and other important weather factors. Finally, a well organized crew can make or break a swim as they need to feed, watch and keep the morale of a swimmer high for up to over 20 hours.

 The Tides

The tides run either in a North-East or South-West direction, depending on the time of day, pushing the swimmer one way or the other. The stronger the tide and the slower the swimmer, the further off course they are pushed. If the tides are negotiated well, a swimmer can use them very effectively at the end approaching to the French coast, sweeping down in a South-East direction, (swimming diagonally across the tide) gaining a lot of extra speed. Tides often run between about 3-5 knots (5.5 -9.2km/ hr). Considering most swimmers average about 3km an hour, this is a very fast addition!! If swimmers have to battle the tides, it is obviously a completely different story. If they sweep past the point they are trying to land on, while going with the tide, they either have to swim at right angles to the tide, or wait for the tide to turn, which can add many hours to the swim. Tides change every 6 hours and are driven by the pull of the moon. The Spring tides carry swimmers further than the neap tides because there is a greater flow of water.