News

69-year-old puts his name in the record books

Chris Shapland has just finished swimming across the English Channel.
Chris Shapland has just finished swimming across the English Channel. Contributed

UPDATE: He grew up splashing in the pools of Toowoomba. Now 69-year-old Chris Shapland can lay claim to being the second oldest person to swim across the English Channel.

He completed the crossing about lunchtime today after swimming for 16 hours and 28 minutes.

The successful attempt came after bad weather thwarted earlier attempts in previous days.

The Sunshine Coast man swam from Dover to the beaches of France, a distance of 33.79km as the crow flies but swam much further because of strong tides.

Chris Shapland attempting to swim the English Channel.
Chris Shapland attempting to swim the English Channel.

A member of Mr Shapland's support team said he embarked in perfect conditions.

The sea temperature was 18.9 degrees, the wind calm and waves just 0.2m high.

"He was relaxed and focused," a representative said.

"Chris has been training for this for two years and knows the importance of being mentally prepared.

"His aim was to remain relaxed and focused which is the key to a successful swim." A support team lowered food to him every 30 minutes so he could keep his strength up.

The way people swim the channel hasn't changed much since it was first completed by Captain Matthew Webb in 1875.

Chris Shapland is being guided by a spotlight from his support team and lights from the coastline of France.
Chris Shapland is being guided by a spotlight from his support team and lights from the coastline of France.

For Mr Shapland's swim to be considered official, he had to follow regulations which included no artificial aides and the wearing of a "standard swim costume".

The swimming teacher learned the art of swimming in the Toowoomba Municipal Baths which his parents leased from council between 1947 and 1960. The cold temperature of the baths, about 16 degrees, was similar to the frigid waters of the English Channel.

Mr Shapland told The Chronicle before leaving: "It's more of a mental than physical battle - it's not such a physical feat if you know how to swim properly."

He said he had fond memories of swimming in Toowoomba at a time when endurance swimming was respected.

6.47AM: Chris Shapland can see the coast of France and is nearing the end of his epic attempt to swim across the English Channel.

The 69-year-old, who was raised in Toowoomba and lives on the Sunshine Coast, started the swim last night (this morning English time).

In the latest update from his team, Mr Shapland was close enough to see the coastline of France.

He is now swimming at nighttime 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.

EARLIER: Chris Shapland has started his attempt to swim across the English Channel.

At 69-years-old Mr Shapland will be the second oldest man to complete the crossing if he succeeds.

A spokesman for his team confirmed he had started the attempt tonight (morning English time).

Chris Shapland prepares to swim the English Channel.
Chris Shapland prepares to swim the English Channel.

He has been in the ocean for three hours now and was photographed eating mid-swim.

The endeavor comes after bad weather thwarted earlier attempts in previous days.

He will swim from Dover to the beaches of France, a distance of 33.79km as the crow flies. 

But he will have to swim many kilometres to either side during the swim because of strong tides and will likely swim at least 40km.

It's important he makes it past the halfway mark before the tides change.

Mr Shapland told The Chronicle before he left that he would try to remain relaxed during the swim to conserve energy.

It will take him about 12 hours to complete the crossing.

Topics:  chris shapland, english channel, swimmer, toowoomba



Major congestion on Pacific Hwy marks start to holidays

Heavy traffic marks the start of school holidays

Coffs region is hot property

The region’s housing market is looking up, with projects on the radar in Tannum Sands and Boyne Island.

Units and houses are both pulling strong returns for Coffs

Pittwater to Coffs yacht race and regatta in safe hands

The sight of the Pittwater to Coffs Harbour fleet entering the outer harbour is set to continue for many years to come.

Coffs assured of future of iconic warm water ocean classic.

Local Partners

What's on the small screen this week

Jessica Marais in a scene from the TV series The Wrong Girl.

A NEW romantic comedy debuts while footy codes ramp up for finals.

Airbourne talk drop bears, beer and taxes

Airbourne have a new album coming out and a new tour on the way.  Photo Contributed

Airbourne release album for the aussie battler

Pippa Middleton had 3000 private photos stolen

Author Pippa Middleton

Author's account hacked to access 3000 private photos

Gruen star discovers the body's limits in new hit TV show

Todd Sampson tries out MMA fighting during TV series BodyHack.

Gruen star pushes the limits in new TV series

Deftones return to Australia with string of dates

Deftones are back in town. Photo Contributed

World renowned nu-metal pioneers return

How the Gruen guy's t-shirts took on a life of their own

Documentary filmmaker and Gruen panellist Todd Sampson.

What started out as simple workwear has become a trademark

Coffs region is hot property

The region’s housing market is looking up, with projects on the radar in Tannum Sands and Boyne Island.

Units and houses are both pulling strong returns for Coffs

UPDATE: Former rodeo champ's sale rained out, now back on

Larkhill local Ken Consiglio is having an auction of most of the things on his property.

'People kept showing up and we had to turn them away'

Couple build their own 'tiny house' for $45k

Holly Bowen and Oli Bucher built their "tiny house" themselves, only hiring a plumber and an electrician. Photo/supplied

The house, which is built on a trailer and can be towed.

Sunshine Beach property breaks real estate record

The property overlooks Sunshine Beach, as the backyard lawn meets the sand.

Sunshine Beach mansion sale smashes real estate record

SOLD: Historic hotel finds new owner

Post Office Hotel Grafton

Photo Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner

Pub in new hands and heading in a brand new direction

Peppers Airlie Beach put on the market

ON THE MARKET: Peppers Airlie Beach is being for recievership sale by CBRE Hotels and PRD Nationwide Airlie Beach.

Peppers Airlie Beach is being offered for sale.