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Marathon Swimmer John van Wisse to attempt Triple Channel Crossing

Posted Aug 04 2010 9:00am
On Thursday, Marathon swimmer John Van Wisse is hoping to become the first Australian and only the fourth person in history to make a triple crossing of the English Channel. The 37-year-old swimming coach from Beaumaris, Victoria will make an attempt on the record set in 1987 by New Zealander Phillip Rush at 28 hours and 21 minutes.

Leaving from Dover, England he will swim to France, back to England and then to France again.

A minimum distance of 63 miles.

The English Channel is the Mount Everest for open water swimmers. It has a rich history from the first person to cross in 1875 (Captain Webb) and there are no guarantees of swimming it due to the unstable British weather, the strong tides, cold water, jellyfish and the huge amount of shipping traffic. Success and failure is a very thin line, something Wisse knows only too well, having to be pulled from the water with hypothermia just 4kms from France during his first attempt in 1993.

Competing in Marathon swims since his teens, he has a list of achievements as long as your arm including..

3 x Winner of Manhattan Island 48km Marathon Swim.

Fastest Australian to swim the English Channel, 8 hours 17 minutes.

First ever brother & sister team to swim the English Channel (with sister Tammy)

..and has also taken part in Ironman races as a pro, where, not surprisingly, he was often first out of the water most notably at Hawaii in 1999.

To get his record attempt ratified, Wisse must swim under the English Channel Swimming Federation rules ( ) which state that for two/three way crossings .

“The swimmer may wear only one swimsuit in one or two pieces which shall not extend past the shoulder or below the knee.  All swimsuits shall be made from textile materials.  Caps may not be made from neoprene or any other material which offers similar heat retention properties”.

Wisse2 “For a multiple crossing to be officially recognized, the swimmer must, as soon as they make contact with the ground, land as directly as possible. They must then return immediately to the water, where they may stand or sit for up to 10 minutes. During this time they must not be touched by any person, but may be handed food, grease, medicines or swimming apparel to be administered by them self. They must then make the most direct and reasonable way to water deep enough in which to swim, and commence swimming. The time spent before the return swim starts shall be added to the time of the subsequent swim”.

Speaking earlier this week whilst waiting for the right conditions Wisse said “I’m not sure how the tides and things will go but I’m going to have a massive crack. I’m getting older and I’ve got this opportunity so I just want to try and do something epic because you never know when’s your last chance. My only concern is I am so big that i may be mistaken for a whale and harpooned in the Channel!”

Follow EverymanTri on Twitter to see if he does it.

Our British Bureau chief, Danny Ward, filed the story.

Follow on twitter @ everymantri or view latest videos on YouTube .

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