A FORMER Shirley doctor bid adieu to his English Channel swimming days on a high after setting a world record.
Dr Chris Stockdale made his final crossing in October alongside five others – known as One Foot in the Wave Three – and became part of the oldest relay team to swim the English Channel.
With an average age of 77 Bob Roberts, Andy Nation, Robert Lloyd Evans, Dr Stockdale and Don Riddington complete the swim from Shakespeare Beach in Dover to Sangatte on the French Coast in 17 hours and five minutes.
The team was completed by the Captain of High Hopes, Simon Ellis, first mate Maz Critchley, the Official Observer of the Channel Swimming and Piloting Federation, Martin Johnson and Frederique Vandrepote.
Dr Stockdale, who completed his first Channel swim in 1977, said the team faced a dramatic start with their boat being rocked side to side and some of the swimmers becoming sea sick.
He added: “As dawn broke the sea settled and the sun began its inevitable and much appreciated journey across the sky.
“The team’s spirit was superb, never over confident (a lot can go wrong) but always cheerful and each swimmer got on with the job without complaint.
“An attitude borne out of decades of combined experience and perhaps a soupcon of old age too.
“At the end of the 17th hour, and in the pitch dark, Robert replaced Kevin and all on board watched the twinkling red lights on his cap as he swam the last hundred metres or so to the welcome shore at Sangatte on the French Coast.
“The team’s joy was unbridled and a few days later the swim was officially ratified and a new world record established.
“Take a bunch of old men, keep them fit for several weeks while waiting to make the attempt, and then ask them to swim across the Channel. What are the chances……… unless of course you are a member of One Foot in the Wave Three.”