LANGKAWI: Marathon swimmer Abdul Malik Mydin has set a target of 18 hours to swim across the 32.8km English Channel in July or August.
The 28-year-old businessman, who took just 14 hours to swim 48km from Kuala Perlis to Kuah here last weekend, said he was 80% prepared for the attempt, which would be the first by a Malaysian.
“The fastest swim across the channel was about 10 hours and the longest was 42 hours. I hope to make it in 18 hours.
“The main challenge will be the cold water, jellyfish, current and big waves,” he said in an interview here yesterday.
He said he would be going to Australia in two weeks to resume his training for the channel swim, which has been slated for the last week of July or first week of August.
“The purpose is to acclimatise my body to the cold water. I will be swimming daily, either for two hours at Port Phillip Bay in Melbourne where the water temperature is now 6°C to 8°C, or up to five hours at other spots with 16°C to 18°C waters,” Abdul Malik added.
He said the temperature at the English Channel would be between 14°C and 18°C.
He would be making the crossing from Dover in England to Cap Gris Nez in Calais, France.
Abdul Malik said he would just be wearing normal swimming trunks for his training, just like he did for the Kuala Perlis-Langkawi swim, as that would be his attire for the English Channel crossing because wetsuits were disallowed.
Past successes by Abdul Malik include emerging fifth among 22 international swimmers in a 26km race across Lake Zurich in Switzerland in August last year.
He had also swum between Penang and the mainland a few times, covering distances of 7.8km to 12km, and 18km from Pulau Besar to Mersing in Johor.
His Australian coach, John van Wisse, said Abdul Malik’s performance in the Kuala Perlis-Langkawi swim was incredible.
He said the swimmer had been training very well and had a good chance of completing the English Channel crossing.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad is the patron for the swim, which is billed as the English Channel Challenge 2003.
If he succeeds, Penang-born Abdul Malik will be among only about 600 people from around the world to swim across the channel since 127 years ago.
About 7,000 others had failed in their attempts, while a European swimmer died while trying to do so in 2001.
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