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Australian sets record for oldest Channel swimmer

Cyril Baldock swimming in the sea Image copyright ABC NEWS-BRENDAN KING
Image caption "The arms were really sore...but I kicked on again," he told AP.

A 70-year-old Australian man has set the record for the world's oldest person to swim the English Channel.

Cyril Baldock, from Bondi Beach in Sydney, completed his second round of the journey between the UK and France.

Mr Baldock managed to complete the leg, which spans at least 40km (25 miles), in 12 hours and 45 minutes.

A 73-year-old Australian woman is due to challenge his record by completing the swim later this week.

His first Channel swim was in 1985, when he was the 5th Australian to do so.

Image copyright ABC NEWS-BRENDAN KING
Image caption Mr Baldock wanted to fulfil his coach's dream

When his coach, Des Renford, died of a heart attack, it sparked an idea within Mr Baldock, he told ABC.

He took it upon himself to fulfil his coach's dream of becoming the oldest person to swim the Channel.

"I told Des that when I got to that age I'd have a go at it. But little did I know over that 30-year period the oldest went up 10 years, so I had to wait a while," he told AP.

His current coach, Vladimir Mravec, has put Mr Baldock through an intense training scheme, swimming at least 40km a week.

Image copyright ABC NEWS-BRENDAN KING
Image caption His coach, Vladimir Mravec, is experienced in training people for 'marathon swims'

"It's helped my fitness, I've got five grandkids and I'm able to do things with them that a lot of 70-year-olds couldn't do," Mr Baldock told ABC.

Although the English Channel is 34km straight, currents often mean that swimmers end up covering more than 40km.

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