Loddington teacher in Channel Island swim challenge

David Coleman, with a New Zealand flag, at the end of his swim from Jersey to France
David Coleman, with a New Zealand flag, at the end of his swim from Jersey to France

A teacher from Loddington is aiming to complete a unique swimming challenge when he swims to France from the Channel Island of Alderney on Thursday, August 21.

David Coleman, 57, who teaches at Maidwell Hall School, has already swum from Jersey to France, a feat he completed last year in a time of nine hours and 18 minutes.

David Coleman during his Channel swim, last year

David Coleman during his Channel swim, last year

However, if he completes the trip from Alderney later this month he will become the first person in history to reach France from two different Channel Islands.

Mr Coleman said: “The swim from Alderney is infamous because of a current called the Race of Alderney, which is well-known to people who sail in that area.

“On August 21 there is a window where the current will be about seven knots, which is quick but I have swum in faster currents before.

“As the swim is exceedingly testing, only two people have ever got across to France.

“I will be the first non-wetsuit swimmer.”

Mr Coleman took up competitive long-distance swimming at the age of 50, having previously swum relatively lengthy distances for leisure.

He said: “I have done quite a number of long-distance events, from the English Channel to Lake Windermere on three occasions, including one trip which was all the way from one end of Windermere and back again.”

Mr Coleman said he usually prepares for his long-distance events by training in the River Nene near Wadenhoe.

He is being sponsored by the airline Aurigny.

During his challenge, Mr Coleman said he will remain in the water for the full duration of the swim, and he is not allowed to even touch the support boat.

He added: “I am allowed to stop every hour for water and food breaks.

“I usually have peanut butter sandwiches.

“I only wear trunks, a hat and goggles, so it can be very cold sometimes.”

Mr Coleman is originally from New Zealand and moved to the UK in 1987. He had a brief stint playing rugby for Northampton Saints.

He has a long-term partner, Liz, and the couple have a daughter, Kate, who lives in the US, and two grandchildren.

England to France

The first person to swim the English Channel without bouyancy was Captain Matthew Webb, who made the crossing on August 24, 1875.

The oldest person to swim the English Channel is Roger Allsopp, who was aged 70 years and four months, when he made the trip in August 2011.

Thomas Gregor was 11 years old when he became the youngest crosser in 1988.