Luke Smoothy enters Rottnest Channel record books


Luke Smoothy emerges with support crew in tow after claiming the record.
Luke Smoothy emerges with support crew in tow after claiming the record.

AS 14-year-old Luke Smoothy powered through another stroke on his way to a record-breaking Rottnest Channel crossing on Friday, one of his support paddlers spotted a shark.

But the inquisitive creature did not get closer than about 12m to the young Mindarie resident, who was swimming within the field of two shark shields.

Luke was oblivious to the predator’s presence, with his support crew opting not to tell him of its visit until he completed the 20km journey.

Luke’s father Martin described a small shark of about 2.5m that “quickly left” as it approached the crew.

The shark sighting coupled with tough swimming conditions added to the adventure as Luke etched his name into the Rottnest Channel Swimming Association record books as the youngest swimmer to complete the feat solo since a 14-year age minimum was introduced in 2007.

To ensure he snared the record, Luke undertook the attempt on his 14th birthday.

A choppy and chilly day on the ocean greeted him, but the Quinns Baptist College student smashed his aim of a seven-hour crossing to finish in six hours and seven minutes.

The previous age record was 14 and two days set in 2011, while the youngest set before the restriction was 12-and-a-half in 1995.