HomeNews ArticlesRob Woodhouse Makes Aus History Swimming English Channel
Club and Community | 10 August 2022

Rob Woodhouse Makes Aus History Swimming English Channel

It’s not just Emma McKeon setting records in her family with her uncle, LA 1984 Medallist Rob Woodhouse, making Australian history after completing solo swim of the English channel.

Rob Woodhouse made history as he became the first Australian to win an Olympic medal and swim the English Channel solo when he completed the crossing on Saturday.

Woodhouse won bronze in the 400IM at the 1984 Games in Los Angeles as well as claiming three silver medals across two Commonwealth Games and two second-place finishes in as many Pan-Pacs.

The 56-year-old is agent to the likes of Adam PeatyBecky Adlington and Chris Hoy – who boast 11 Olympic titles between them – with sports talent and marketing agency TLA Worldwide.

Woodhouse is also uncle to Emma McKeon, who became the most decorated athlete in Commonwealth history having taken her overall medal tally to 20 across three Games at Birmingham 2022, and her brother David, a former world, Commonwealth and Pans-Pacs medallist.

The Australian set off from Samphire Hoe, between Folkestone and Dover on the Kent coast of England, at around 3:30am with the sea temperature at 19 degrees and a 21-mile crossing ahead of him.

Four-time Commonwealth champion Ron McKeon, father to Emma and David, and Andy Jameson, who won 100m butterfly bronze at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, were on his support boat.

And it was at the prompting of the pair that Woodhouse swam some butterfly in the notoriously choppy and demanding stretch of water.

He reached France at 210pm, 10hrs 45mins after leaving England, to become only the fifth person to have won an Olympic medal in the pool and cross the Channel solo with Woodhouse proud to have made Australian history.

It was the second-fastest solo swim this year -“not bad for an old bloke,” said Woodhouse – who, on being asked about the toughest part of the challenge, told Swimming World:

“I’m not really sure to be honest.  I saw a lot of jellyfish but didn’t get stung.

“I guess just the distance was the toughest thing in that it’s easily the longest swim I’ve done, but of course I knew that going into it.”

And on which is tougher, the Channel or the 400IM, he added:

“They’re both pretty tough but preparing for the Olympics in any event is far tougher in terms of intensity and professionalism so I think 400IM.

“That said, to do the Channel at my age has been something I’ve been interested in for a long time – which is how it came about – so I did prepare well to give myself the best chance of success!”

Woodhouse is raising money for two charities: the Can Too cancer research in Australia and the North Ayrshire Swimming Club in Scotland, the latter his training club.

He said:

“I’ve seen first-hand how like most amateur sports clubs they were decimated financially and in terms of numbers of young kids unable to train and then being lost to the sport during Covid.”

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