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Philippe Croizon will instantly earn himself a place in the record books if his 22 miles crossing from Folkestone, Kent, to Cap-Gris-Nez, near Calais, is successful.
Amazingly, just two years ago he was barely able to swim two lengths of his local pool.
French amputee Philippe Croizon takes on the seas outside La Rochelle in Western France. He is planning to swim the Channel in September
Philippe with gendarme women officers during a training session at the Gendarmerie naval base in La Rochelle, Western France. He will attempt the 22 mile crossing from France to England in September
The 42-year-old Frenchman, who is nicknamed ‘Iron Man’, lost his four limbs in 1994 when a TV aerial he was trying to mend touched an overhead power line.
He was immediately hit with 20,000 volts of electricity and had to have both arms and both legs amputated.
Since then Philippe, from Chatellerault, in the Vienne department of central France, has done everything he can to try and lead a normal life.
He was inspired to attempt the swim after watching a documentary about crossing the Channel from his hospital bed.
‘This is a dream and I’m determined to fulfil it,’ he said, showing off his specially-designed flippers.
‘At first my parents thought the idea was mad, but I was determined to carry on. The more I practice in the sea, the more I feel confident.’
Philippe has been swimming for up to 30 hours a week for the past two years, and building up his body strength in his local gym.
The father of two is supervised at all times by Valerie Carbonnel, a physical education teacher.
Valerie said: ‘When I met him for the first time in September 2008 he was unable to complete two lengths of a pool. He had no stamina, and his flippers did not propel him forwards at all.’
Coastguards from the Charente-Maritime region have been accompanying Philippe’s training sessions in the bay at La Rochelle to help him get used to swimming against the tide, and in freezing cold water.
He hopes to complete the 22 mile swim in around 24 hours, and will be accompanied by a medical team throughout.
Philippe who lost all his limbs in an accident is able to swim with the help of two artificial limbs which have flippers attached to them
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