Updated: Sep 19
The Telegraph reports: It was Sept 6 1988 and he was 11 years and 336 days old, the youngest person to ever swim the English Channel. Although Cap Gris-Nez is only 20 miles from Dover, his route had taken 32 miles, allowing for the pull of the tides.
Thirty years on, his incredible record still stands. Not that Gregory, now 41, talks about it much. He’s the record-breaking British swimmer you’ve never heard of.
That his record is unbeaten is in part due to the Channel Swimming Association banning those under 12 from swimming the channel, just weeks after his crossing.
Gregory takes his daughters swimming, and while he admits his wife would probably have something to say about them doing a similar challenge, he is in no doubt that the world we live in today has become much more risk-averse. “Have we lost something? Probably. Are we in a better place? I don’t think so. Because that was an enormously enriching childhood for me. It’s been the foundation of what’s been a very happy life and something I will pass on to my children.”
To carry that message, Gregory has written a memoir charting the extraordinary three years of his training to triumph, called A Boy in the Water.