Before Anthony McCarley knew how to swim, he had already felt a need to cross the English Channel. The 54-year-old didn’t even know how that dream came about, but when he turned 49, he realised that he had to get started. So in 2009, he began making regular trips to the swimming pool and slowly improved on his stamina and endurance.

At 13 years of age, he had already learnt how to swim. In fact, by 18, he had already swum from Alcatraz across the frigid San Francisco Bay without a wetsuit. His love for swimming in the open waters began at a young age. However, as he matured, life got in his way of it. Anthony felt that he had to at least try to cross the English Channel. Even if he wasn’t successful, he would know that he gave it a try at least.

Last year, he made his first attempt to cross the Channel. When he was 800 yards from France, his support crew, made up of his friends who aren’t the most experienced in open water swims, thought that he was struggling. This prompted them to inform the captain, who eventually ordered him out of the water. When he was taken out and informed of how close he was, he was devastated and frustrated. However, he decided that he would do it again.

So two weeks ago, he set off again with the same captain and crew. This time though, everyone was more aware and informed. During his swim, he had second thoughts about doing it, but he told himself to shut away from such thoughts. He was faced with jellyfish and changing tides, which only increased the duration of his swim. Despite all of the obstacles, both physical as well as psychological, he pushed forward like a true champion. After a total of 13 hours and 29 minutes, the ship sounded the horn to signal the completion of his crossing. “My definition of what’s impossible now has changed. You are never too old,” Anthony said on the way back to England in the boat.

By accomplishing this, Anthony became the second Pennsylvanian, the 32d oldest, and among 1,801 overall who have officially swum the English Channel. For the full story, you can read it over here.

For those who are interested in swimming lessons in Singapore, Happy Fish Swim School offers a variety of lessons. Our goal is to spread this lifetime skill to every Singaporean.