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Rick Seirer becomes oldest person to complete double English Channel swim

A 59-year-old man flew across the world in order to become the oldest person to swim across the English Channel and back again.

Rick Seirer from Australia battled sickness, jellyfish stings and two flood tides during the 29 hour and 46 minute endeavour last Monday.

Even after 29 hours 46 mintues of swimming Rick Seirer could still raise his arms to celebrate (15941175)
Even after 29 hours 46 mintues of swimming Rick Seirer could still raise his arms to celebrate (15941175)

The married father of four takes the record from Sally Minty-Gravett, also 59, which was set in 2016, and will be ratified by the Channel Swimming Association at the end of the swimming season.

Mr Seirer said: "I feel pretty good about it. It's been a great thing with a lot of hard work.

"Even though it's called a solo crossing, it's far from that.

"There's a lot of people involved who I'd like to thank including my boat captains Reg and Ray Brickell, my crew Chloe McCardel and Melanie Holland, my family and friends and lots of sponsors.

"It's been a big effort by a lot of people to get me over and to achieve what I've achieved."

Rick Seirer in action as he swims towards the finish line in Dover (15941172)
Rick Seirer in action as he swims towards the finish line in Dover (15941172)

Mr Seirer, a part-time farmer who rears beef cattle and a farm advisor from Craigie in central Victoria, trained for three years.

The idea was spouted in September 2016 when he completed a single crossing in 11 hours and 58 minutes.

He said: "I enjoyed it so much, someone said, 'I think you've got a double in there' and that set the scene."

Rick Seirer pictured in Deal four days after completing the swim (15941182)
Rick Seirer pictured in Deal four days after completing the swim (15941182)

Working with his coach, Chloe McCardell, who herself has over 30 Channel swims under her belt, he trained for up to 20 hours a week in the sea, lakes and pools.

Setting off from Samphire Hoe in Dover at 6.30am on Monday, August 26, Mr Seirer was advised to consider the first leg of the journey as a warm up, with the swim "really beginning" when he hit land at Cap Gris-Nez.

Rick Seirer (centre) with his crew Melanie Holland and Chloe McCardel (left) and Reg and Ray Brickell (right) (15941177)
Rick Seirer (centre) with his crew Melanie Holland and Chloe McCardel (left) and Reg and Ray Brickell (right) (15941177)

He said: "It was very hard, especially the second lap but I had a great coach and she got me through the battle.

"The biggest problem was getting into France was the jellyfish. They all seemed to be congregating around France so I got lots of stings.

"And then coming back, the flood tides were pushing down through the Channel and I wasn't making much ground so I had to push hard to get through those.

Rick Seirer with his coach Chloe McCardel (15941168)
Rick Seirer with his coach Chloe McCardel (15941168)

"The night swim was very cold and very tough and then another flood tide coming back into England. Being very tired at the time, I had to push hard to swim through those.

"I also think I had an overload of salt so I was throwing up quite a bit.

"It was such a relief to get out of the water under the White Cliffs of Dover but I felt about 100 stone.

"I found a big rock and put my hands in the air!"

Rick Seirer enjoys his first Guiness after the swim (15941165)
Rick Seirer enjoys his first Guiness after the swim (15941165)

Throughout the challenge, Mr Seirer support boat was the Viking Princess who supplied him with food every half and hour. He was not allowed to touch the boat at any point.

When it got tough, Mr Seirer said he would count his strokes in sets of 200, dedicating each set to to different family member or friend.

He added: "I've done Ironmans before but with this, it's the same thing for so long, you can't look around at the sky or the scenery, you've just got to look down at the deep blue sea."

Mr Seirer has since received congratulations and media interest from around the world.

Rick Seirer is reunited with childhood friend Carolyn Bond and her husband Cllr Trevor Bond (16026676)
Rick Seirer is reunited with childhood friend Carolyn Bond and her husband Cllr Trevor Bond (16026676)

And his new record hasn't been the only thing to come out of his 9,400 mile journey to the UK.

The seasoned swimmer has also been re-united with his childhood neighbour Carolyn Bond who he hadn't seen for 40 years.

He said: "What a blast from the past.

"Carolyn and I lived next door to each other from about 1962-1978, in Melbourne Australia.

"My mother still has remote contact with Carolyn’s mum and mentioned to her a few months ago that I was coming to England to swim the channel and it went from there.

"Incredibly Carolyn is a high level swim coach."

They met for dinner in Deal on Friday night to celebrate Mr Seirer's achievements.

He added: "We had an awesome night.

"She reminded me that I worried about her when she first started school and I walked her there for the first week to make sure she knew the way."

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