Channel swim success

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A volunteer coach has joined an elite group by swimming from England to France using breaststroke.

Philip Yorke, who works as an assistant operations manager at The Edge sports facility at Leeds University, is believed to be only the 12th person to complete the swim using the stroke - and the seventh fastest of those.

The volunteer coach at Dewsbury Amateur Swimming Club made the booking to swim The Channel solo in 2013, having completed a Channel relay as part of a staff team from The Edge.

Philip, 43, said: “Once started I swam for approximately five hours in the dark; the only things I could see other than the boat were some red lights on Channel markers. The sun coming up was a welcome thing. I carried on swimming alongside the boat feeding after two hours and then every hour until the finish. With 300m to go the only jelly fish I saw, a large compass jelly, decided to give me a nice welcome to France and stung me across both arms, face and right side.”

He finished in 18 hours and two minutes and raised £550 for Aspire, a charity supporting people with spinal cord injuries,

Philip, who lives in Mirfield, prepared for the challenge with five sessions a week in the pool at the university and various open water sessions, including swims in Dover Harbour.

He said: “The swim is officially 21 miles between a beach near Dover and Cap Gris Nez near Calais. Once you start from the beach you are not allowed to hold onto the boat for a rest or while feeding and because I was doing breaststroke I could only deviate from this stroke when I tread water to feed.”