South African senior citizen b

South African senior citizen becomes oldest man to swim the English Channel

A 73-year-old South African broke the record as the oldest person ever to swim across the English Channel

South African senior citizen b

A South African septuagenarian has become the oldest person to swim across the English Channel last weekend. The 73-year-old heart surgeon said that his key motivation behind the challenge was to show the world what senior citizens could achieve if they set their mind to it and looked after their health and wellbeing.

“My wish was basically to promote the idea that people over the age of 70 can do things like this if they look after themselves and work hard,” Thaning said.

Mr Thanning had first swum the channel in 1994, but aged 73 he broke a respectable record on the weekend, setting a high bar for future challengers. The previous record-holder is a 70-year-old Australian by the name of Cyril Baldock, who had swum the channel just last month.

Despite suffering a cramp early on into the 40+ kilometre swim, Otto Thaning reports that the biggest problem he was faced with was having to deal with the water temperature:

“The biggest problem is to maintain one’s core temperature because the water is cold. We averaged 18C (64F), and that was particularly helpful to me because that’s reasonably warm for the channel. The channel is usually a little bit colder at this time of year.”

Mr Thaning knows what he’s talking about: he is a highly qualified heart surgeon, who had trained under Dr. Christian Barnard – the Cape Town surgeon, who had performed the world’s first successful human heart transplant.

But despite his scientific mind, Otto Thaning recounts how overwhelming the entire experience felt for him when he finished:

“I was absolutely exhilarated to the point of tears.”