Youngest relay team to swim the
English Channel - world record set by English swimmers
TUNBRIDGE WELLS, England -- The Royal Tunbridge
Wells Monson Swimming Club's 1956 class-the 12 years olds-swam
(on September 4, 1968 ) the most difficult way from England
to France in 12 hours and 45 minutes-setting the world record
for the (First and the) Youngest
relay team to swim the English Channel. Photo: The record breaking team at the
start of their swim. Back: Jonathan Marsh, Kevin Tettmar,
Kim Taylor, Peter Burns. Front: Stephen Underdown, Richard
Field, David Young, Peter Chapman. (enlarge
Eight had trained but only six could take
part in the official relay. John Wrapson: "The two boys in
the middle on the top row ( photo right ) were the
two 'reserves in name only' but were an important part of
the squad. The team had to be named before the attempt started
and the named team then had to swim in the correct order and
could not be altered!"
Kevin Tettmar, of Rusthall, and Jonathan
March, of Sherwood, were told that they were the unlucky
The boys in order of swimming were: David
Young (Crowborough) who had three spells in the water;
Richard Field (Southborough), Kim Taylor (Rusthall),
Peter Chapman (Monson Road), Stephen Underdown
(Rusthall) and Peter Burns (Sherwood).
Peter Burns recalled: "The training
John gave us for that swim was so tough that the swim itself
was easy by comparison."
"We had some problems on the way. In the middle
we ran into a storm, and one boy had to swim through a shoal
of jellyfish, but it was worth it."
John Wrapson, the relay swim and
official observer commented back then: "A very creditable
performance in very heavy seas at times, and not at all easy
The Mayor Ald. Kenneth Morrison told the boys:"The
swim reflects great credit on you all. When I was your age,
I don't think I could have tackled it."
Dennis Knight, the (assistant)
coach, said the youngsters swam 130 miles training for the
Local media reported: "Conditions,
on the whole, were difficult and they owed a lot to Captain
Hutchinson, whose pilot boat took them across."
The dates of birth and names of the team were:
- David Young 18 June, 1956
- Richard Field 21 March 1956
- Kim Taylor 17 March 1956
- Peter Chapman 26 May, 1956
- Stephen Underdown 4 February1956
- Peter Burns 25 July 1956 Average age: 12 years 4 months
John Wrapson: "All the swimmers had
been members of the swimming club for quite a long time, lived
in Tunbridge Wells and were not specially enrolled for the
purpose of creating a record!"