Award-winning author Tom Gregory OC visits Colfe’s

Old Colfeian and author of award-winning book Boy in the Water Tom Gregory (1983-1994) returned to Colfe’s to share with pupils his incredible story of becoming the youngest person to swim the English Channel.

Speaking to the Senior School pupils, tom recounted his achievement of swimming across the Channel aged just 11 and how his title will never be broken due to subsequent health and safety legislation. After joining his local swimming club at six years old, Tom was selected by his coach at eight years old as a potential Channel contender. At 11 years and 336 days old, he completed his 32 mile swim in open water from France to the White Cliffs of Dover in 11 hours and 54 minutes.

With Junior School pupils Tom focused on about the determination and resilience needed to go from swimming a width aged seven to just over 20 miles aged 11, answering a range of thoughtful questions from our younger pupils who were eager to find out more about his extraordinary achievement.

Headmaster Richard Russell said “It was a pleasure to welcome Tom Gregory back to Colfe’s and his assemblies were extremely well-received in both junior and senior schools. His achievement 30 years ago was truly remarkable and his record will never be broken because modern health and safety legislation would prevent the 11 year olds of today from seeking to emulate his achievement. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Tom endorsed the key principles of our Tougher Minds programme, stressing not only the importance of preparing systematically for success but also the extent to which we depend on those around us to achieve our goals.”


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