I made an attempt in 1983, but the weather got very rough, the boat hit me twice, and emotionally I wasn't as strong as I should have been. So when the boat pilot said, "You're doing very well, all the other swimmers have quit," that didn't encourage me. I thought, "I've beaten them." And I climbed up the ladder into the boat. I'd swum 18 miles and had only five to go. In 1986, my boat hit a sandbar and I stood up 400 yards from France. [Authorities ruled that attempt fell short of the full channel crossing.] I went back and did it three weeks later. So legally, I'm in the books as having done it once.
Read the rest of the interview with the 70-year-old who plans to swim the English Channel.