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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 August 2006, 11:32 GMT 12:32 UK
Walliams completes Channel swim
David Walliams begins his challenge
David Walliams hoped to complete the swim in 16 hours
Little Britain star David Walliams has successfully completed the 21-mile swim across the English Channel to France.

The 34-year-old comedian, who entered the water at Shakespeare Beach in Dover, Kent, at 0531 BST on Tuesday, reached France at about 1600 BST.

He had expected the crossing to take 14 hours, so was "relieved and pleased" to make it in 10 hours and 34 minutes.

Walliams undertook the gruelling swim as part of Sport Relief, he has now raised a magnificent 1 million.

The cross-channel comedian is now among the favourites for the BBC's prestigious Sports Personality of the Year award.

The odds on Walliams lifting the coveted trophy in December have shrunk from a massive 119-1 to 7-2.

During the crossing, he had to swim through shoals of jellyfish, and cope with water temperatures as low as 15C.

After his epic swim, Walliams told BBC Radio One he had completed it much faster than he thought he would.

"I thought it was going to take me about 14 hours - well, if I was going to get there.

"I feel relieved because we needed a happy ending to this story. I feel it's taken the sting out of the World Cup."

The comedian spent the last year training with former Olympic modern pentathlete Greg Whyte.

Whyte described swimming the channel as "one of the toughest physical challenges on the planet".

Fewer than 10% of people who have attempted to swim the Channel have succeeded.

The famous stretch of water is one of the world's busiest shipping lanes, with 600 tankers and 200 ferries crossing it every day.

Walliams covered himself in grease to keep warm and is being given food from a pole on his support boat during the swim.

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24 Jul 04 |  England


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