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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 August 2007, 08:48 GMT 09:48 UK
Channel victory for swimmer, 60
Linda Ashmore
Linda Ashmore spent 18 months training for her channel swim
A 60-year-old woman may be the oldest woman in the world to swim across the English Channel after completing the feat in about 15 hours.

It took Linda Ashmore, from Weymouth in Dorset, 15 hours and 11 minutes to swim from Dover to Calais on Saturday.

The mother-of-three spent 18-months training for the challenge.

The Channel Swimming and Piloting Federation said she is a few days older than the previous record holder, Australian Sue Oldham - also aged 60.

The first 11-12 hours were great and I thoroughly enjoyed it but the last bit was quite horrendous
Linda Ashmore

Ms Oldham completed her swim last year in 16 hours and three minutes.

Mrs Ashmore's record has yet to be officially confirmed, said the Channel Swimming and Piloting Federation (CSPF).

Angela Oram, assistant honorary secretary of the CSPF, said: "It is unofficial at the moment but we think she is the oldest woman in the world to have done the crossing."

Mrs Ashmore, who retired from her job teaching mathematics at Wey Valley School in Dorset last month, said: "If it is the case [that she has won the record] that would be fantastic.

"It is what I set out to do all along. It was a beautiful day and there were no clouds in the sky.

"The first 11-12 hours were great and I thoroughly enjoyed it but the last bit was quite horrendous.

"I just had to swim stroke by stroke to get to the other side."

Her training regime included six to eight miles of cycling a week and exercising at her gym, as well as swimming in the sea to "acclimatise to the conditions".

'Pretty determined'

Her husband, Nic, also helped her train by canoeing as she swam. He was also on the boat, which monitored her progress across the Channel, she added.

Mrs Ashmore said her children, Nikki, 27, Graeme, 25, and 30-year-old Jonathan helped "rekindle own childhood interest in swimming".

However, her family "thought she was mad for taking on the challenge".

The oldest man to have done so is thought to be George Burnstad, 70, who did it in 15 hours, 59 minutes in 2004.

According to the Channel Swimming Association (CSA), 748 people had completed the crossing by the end of last year.

They include Little Britain star David Walliams, who took on the challenge to raise money for Sport Relief and swam it in 10 hours, 29 minutes.

Mrs Ashmore, now recovering from her swim in Scotland, added: "I was always pretty determined. As long as my arms were still moving and working, I was going to keep going.

"I say no now, but who knows? Don't tell anyone but I am thinking of doing it again when I am 65!"




SEE ALSO
Teenager completes channel swim
27 Aug 07 |  Bristol/Somerset
Injury halts double-Channel swim
26 Aug 07 |  England
Walliams completes Channel swim
08 Aug 06 |  Sport Relief

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