I saw this article over the weekend and just had to share it with everyone on Maximise Potential. I think it’s a great inspiration to us all.
Last updated at 11:28 AM on 20th September 2010
A man with no arms and no legs was today celebrating becoming the first to swim across the English Channel – arriving a full 10 hours ahead of schedule.
Philippe Croizon, a 42-year-old who lost all of his limbs in a freak accident, achieved the incredible feat using specially designed prosthetic flippers.
The Frenchman set off from Folkestone, Kent, at 8am on Saturday morning and reached Wissant, near Calais, just before 9.30pm.
Philippe Croizon has become the first man with no arms or legs to swim across the English Channel – arriving a full 10 hours ahead of schedule
Croizon, 42, achieved his remarkable feat using specially designed prosthetic flippers
‘I did it! It’s mad!’ were Philippe’s first words on arrival, saying he wanted to become ‘a representative of someone overcoming his restrictions.
‘I’ve done this for myself, for my family, and for all those who have suffered tragedy and lost their taste for life,’ added the father-of-two.
He swam at a constant 2mph – only slightly slower than an able bodies swimmer – in relatively good weather, and was accompanied by dolphins for part of the crossing.
Philippe had been expected to take some 24 hours to finish the 21 mile swim, but in fact did it in just over 13 hours.
On arrival he was telephoned by Nadine Morano, France’s families minister, who praised his ‘exceptional athletic performance’.
Croizon lost his limbs in 1994 after he was hit by a 20,000 volt charge during his work as an electrician
She said: ‘This heroic act proves that nothing is impossible when you believe in man.’
In 1994 Croizon was working as an electrician when he was hit by a 20,000 volt charge from a power line as when he tried to take a TV aerial off the roof of a house.
Medics had to amputate all of his limbs, but as lay in his hospital bed he saw a documentary about Channel swimming and was inspired.
Croizon trained for around 30 hours a week for more than two years, mainly on France’s Atlantic coast.
Philippe’s special fins which allowed him to swim were attached to his leg stumps.
He also wore attachments on his arm stumps, but these solely allowed him to balance, and to make sure he headed in the right direction. They also helped stop him getting sea sick.
Philippe will now join a pantheon of heroes who have made their names swimming the Channel in exceptional circumstances.
The first ever monitored swim across Strait of Dover was by Englishman Matthew Webb in 1875 and took 21 hours and 45 minutes.
In 2005 German swimmer Christof Wandratsch broke the Dover-Calais record, trimming 14 minutes off the previous record from 1994.
Wandratsch swam approximately 21 miles across the Channel in seven hours and three minutes.
The amputeee trained for 30 hours a week for more than two years ahead of his record-breaking swim.