Limbless Frenchman to swim around world
John Lichfield has been The Independent's man in Paris since 1997, covering French news. Before that, he was the paper's Foreign Editor and he has also worked in Brussels and Washington. In 1999, he was the UK press Awards Foreign Reporter of the year.
Wednesday 25 April 2012
Philippe Croizon, who became the first limbless man to swim the English Channel two years ago, is planning to swim around the world in record time in the next four months.
Mr Croizon, 44, from Châtellerault in central France, plans to swim four straits between five continents before the end of August, with long-distance swimmer, Arnaud Chassery. Only one swimmer has ever swum all four straits before.
In March 1994, Mr Croizon, then a 27 year-old steelworker, was electrocuted when manipulating a TV aerial which struck a power-line near his home. In the following months, both his legs and both his arms above the elbow were amputated.
Five years ago, Mr Croizon learned to swim. He devised a new method, using short, artificial leg extensions, flippers, a snorkel and what remained of his upper arms for balance. He was told, at first, that no one could swim like that. Three years later, in September 2010, he swam the 21 miles of the English Channel.
Mr Croizon and Mr Chassery, who have called their challenge Nager au-delà des frontières (swimming across frontiers), will represent Handicap International at events around the world during their venture.
"We will be campaigning to encourage a different attitude to disability, especially in the undeveloped world," Mr Croizon said.
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