Tony Espin made a splash this month when he completed a record-breaking relay swim across the English Channel - as part of the oldest team to ever complete the challenge.
Tony (74) joined the six man team - called The Septuagenarians, with an average age of 74 years and 14 days - who set off from the south east coast of England in the early hours of September 7.
The team reached the cliffs just south of Cap Gris Nez in France after just 11 hours and 56 minutes, with Tony walking ashore after taking the final leg of the swim.
This remarkable time meant that, in addition to becoming the oldest team ever to successfully swim across the Channel, the Septuagenarians also achieved the fastest crossing by a six man team so far this year.
The crossing was never going to be an easy challenge - especially with one of the team members recovering from broken wrists - but Tony told the Leader: “As far as I was concerned, there would be no failure.”
He continued: “The sea was rough, with huge swells with white horses capping the crests, and the wind was force three or four.”
The relay team used the ‘Connemara’ boat, piloted by Kevin Sherman, as their base, and Tony’s teammates were Robert Lloyd-Evans, Graham Ling, David Cumming and Tony Cherrington.
The sixth member was Michael Read MBE, who is the President of the Channel Swimming Association (CSA) and the ‘King of the Channel’, a title which is given to the man who has successfully completed more solo cross-channel swims than any other.
Michael invited Tony to take part in the relay at a formal dinner for long-distance swimmers back in February.
Besides Michael, Tony was the only other member of the team to have completed a solo Channel crossing in the past, having successfully taken on the challenge in August 1978.
Back then, the challenge took him 14 hours and 13 minutes to complete, and made him the only man in Lincolnshire to have completed a solo Channel swim from England to France.
After the recent relay, Tony said: “I would like to thank Grimsby and Cleethorpes Yacht Club for the use of their facilities for training.”
Tony also trained at Alexandra Dock in Grimsby and at the Meridian Leisure Centre in Louth.