Rob Woodhouse becomes the first Australian Olympic medalist to swim Channel

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On Saturday, Australian Olympic medalist and former chief executive of the International Swimming League’s London Roar, Rob Woodhouse, completed his solo swim in the English Channel.

He won his bronze medal in the 400 individual medley at the 1984 Games in Los Angeles. Woodhouse added to this accomplishment by becoming the first Australian Olympic medalist to successfully swim the English Channel.

Woodhouse sought out this demanding open water swim to challenge himself and raise money for the Can Too Foundation which supports cancer research.

At around 3:25 a.m. Saturday, Woodhouse left England’s Kent coast and reached France at around 2:10 p.m. His time of 10 hours and 45 minutes puts him 215th fastest men’s solo swim ever.

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With no previous marathon swimming experience, Woodhouse engaged in ocean endurance swims and cold water training to prepare for the 21-mile crossing. As he swam in the English Channel, the water temperature remained between 63 and 64 degrees Fahrenheit and the wind speed varied from 8 to 15 mph. Tidal patterns and wave heights of up to 6ft are other hurdles Channel swimmers would have to overcome.

Woodhouse’s successful swimming now makes him the 2nd oldest Olympian at 56 to complete the Channel with 1960 Olympian Veljko Rogosic remaining 1st. Croatian/Yugoslavian Rogosic was 63 when he crossed the English Channel in 2004.

Other Olympic medalists to cross the English Channel include John Kinsella and Trudey Ederle. Ederle won 2 bronze medals and a gold medal at the 1924 Olympics, and in 1926 she became the first woman to swim across the English Channel.

Woodhouse became one of two Australian Olympic swimmers to cross the English Channel. He joins 1964 Olympian Linda McGill who took up the challenge a year after her Olympic debut and was inducted into the Australian Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame in 2020.

For 37 years, Woodhouse was the only Australian man to win an Olympic medal in an IM event. Last summer at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Brendon Smith joined Woodhouse in this achievement by winning a bronze medal in the 400 IM himself.

Although Woodhouse has resigned as chief executive of the International Swimming League’s London Roar, he continues to be involved in professional swimming. He is Director of Olympic Talent at TLA Worldwide and agent for superstars like peated adam and Rebecca Adlington.

He trains regularly as a lifeguard for North Ayrshire Swimming, a club team he sympathizes with deeply due to the effects of COVID-19. He told West FM News: “[I’ve] seeing what they’ve been through with Covid and the lack of training opportunities and the number of children lost to sport… So raising money for them, and cancer research in Australia, it’s is great.

Woodhouse raised over £5,500, which equates to $6,500 for North Ayrshire Swimming.

Donate to both causes here:

Other Olympians who have crossed the English Channel, courtesy of OlympStats.com:

ATHLETE COUNTRY(S) SPORTS) TIME CANAL BATH
Greta Anderson LAIR SU 1948-52 1957/58/59/64/65 Five successful attempts (Best 13:40). France-England in 1957/58/59; England-France in 1964/65.
Miguel Arrobas ORP SU 1992 2008 England-France (9h30).
Bill Burgess UK SWI/WAP 1900 1911 England-France (22:35). Second swimmer to cross the Channel in 1911.
Bimal Chandra INDIANA SU 1948 1959 France-England (1:50 p.m.).
Edith van Dijk NDE SU 2008 2003 France-England (9:08)
Trudy Ederle UNITED STATES SU 1924 1926 France-England (14:39). First woman to swim in the English Channel. Third person to swim from France to England.
Jo O-Ryeon HORN SU 1972 1982 England-France (9:35).
John Kinsella UNITED STATES SU 1968-72 1979 England-France (9:10).
Yuri Kudinov KAZ SU 2012 2007 (7:05)
Linda McGill AU SU 1964 1965/1967 [3] All France-England (Best 9:59 (1967)). Three crossings in 1967. 9h59 at the time a record for women.
Eva Mortensen LAIR SU 1988 1996 England-France (10:46).
Veljko Rogosic YUG SU 1960-64 2004 England-France (11:27) at the age of 63.
Gilles Rondy ENG SU 2008 2004 England-France (7:54)
Arati Saha INDIANA SU 1952 1959 France-England (4:20 p.m.).
Petar Stoychev DRANK SU 2000-12 2006 England-France (7:21); 2007 England-France (6h57) – first crossing in less than 7 hours and record time of 2007-2012.
Edward Temme UK WAP 1928-36 1927 France-England and 1934 England-France (15:34). First swimmer to cross the Channel in both directions.
Rostislav Vitek CZE SU 2008 2009 England-France (7:16)

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