Channel pulls Sue back in

Inspiring swimmer Sue Oldham. Picture: Marcus Whisson d423407
Inspiring swimmer Sue Oldham. Picture: Marcus Whisson d423407

The Carine resident first crossed the 30-kilometre channel at age 61 before claiming the world record at 65 and said she’s fitter than ever as she embarks on her third attempt at the open water swim at 68.

Mrs Oldham said although she was familiar with the channel swim, she felt more nervous about this attempt than previous swims, considered the Everest of open water challenges.

‘When you hit French waters, that’s a bit of a highlight, I must admit, because you think ‘I’m halfway there’,’ Ms Oldham said.

‘I’m lucky because I don’t mind swimming in the dark and I don’t mind cold water. I’m not fast but I’m a good solid plodder.’

The grandmother of five averages up to 40km of swimming a week, including at Claremont Pool, night swims at Hillarys Boat Harbour and cold-water training in the Swan River.

Mrs Oldham said the feeling of powering herself from England to French soil was what kept pulling her back, even if she couldn’t stay in France for more than 10 minutes.

‘I landed in the afternoon and a lovely French woman came over and asked me who I was and where I was from,’ she said. ‘I don’t speak French and she didn’t speak English but we got the general drift.

‘It’s an unbelievable feeling; you run up that beach, it’s really hard to believe you’ve actually made it and you basically turn around and wave to your boat and then you wade back into the water.

‘You can’t stay on French soil, they let you stay there for five or 10 minutes.’

Recently retired from a career in politics, Mrs Oldham volunteers at Perth Zoo between swims.