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Swimming the English Channel

Don Riddington has already been swimming for many hours as the sun rises.

Don Riddington has already been swimming for many hours as the sun rises.


Congratulations to Don Riddington and his support crew – his son Ian, coach Grant Siedle and skipper Eddie Spelling – on a successful cross channel swim!

Don arrived in France after swimming solidly for 19 hours, 45 minutes and 31 seconds. He is now the oldest Australian to have swum the English Channel.

We thank Don for his support of ASD and Amaze and hope that he enjoys some well earned rest and relaxation after two years of preparation and hundreds if not thousands of miles of training.

Don Will Attempt the Channel in July 2013

Grant Siedle and Don Riddington are both keen open water swimmers and met through their shared interest 2007 when Don joined the swimming squad that Grant was coaching. Since those days of pool swimming, both have become addicted to the thrill of plunging into cold water with a ‘steam-room chaser’ and both swim regularly with the Brighton Icebergers. The Brighton area has produced quite a few English Channel swimmers and Grant and Don got caught up in the excitement of the tales of endurance of those who had achieved what many consider to be the pinnacle of open water swimming.

Don was first to commit himself to the English Channel swim with Grant agreeing to coach him – but that didn’t last long and Grant booked himself in for the challenge too.

The English Channel is cold, with difficult tides, intemperate weather conditions and a lot of traffic. The success rate is less than 10%.

The English Channel is 34km wide, 45m deep and the temperature is about 15 degrees max: swimmers are in thewater for up to 20 hours without a wetsuit and must not touch any person, or the boat, whilst dodging 600 ships daily (which is about one ship every 2 minutes on average, day and night).


To follow Don’s swim live as it happens, you can go to the live boat tracker page – click here.

You can keep up with Don via his blog – click here.

Please support Don at his everydayhero page.


We wish Don all the very best for a successful swim in mid-July.




Photo of Grant Siedle - keen open water swimmer

Grant made a valiant attempt at the Channel but was beaten back by hypothermia and exhaustion

Grant’s Channel Experience – July 2012

Grant got three quarters of the way to France and land was in sight before he was pulled from the water suffering from fatigue and hypothermia, greatly disappointed but determined that this was not going to be the end of it.

The swim got underway at 2.30am British summer time on Wednesday 25 July with calm conditions and an expected top of 27 degrees. All was going well until around midday, when Grant started to show signs of fatigue. At about 9 1/2 hours, with Grant struggling to make progress and showing signs of hypothermia, his support team had to break it to him that it was not going to be, this time.

“I am disappointed not to get to the other side but as Boris Becker said after losing Wimbledon, it wasn’t a war and nobody died! My friends Willo, Greg and Dave looked after me very well with the watching, the feeding and the recovery,” Grant recalls.

Well done, Grant, on your fine attempt: you didn’t quite achieve what you wanted to do, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t an amazing effort which showed grit and determination. Thank you to everyone who has supported Grant.

Amaze is very grateful to Don & Grant for taking on this challenge in support of Autism Awareness and we wish Don the very best with his training in the lead up to July 2013.

Read Grant’s online blog (You can sign up to receive postings)