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On the day of Brunstad's 70th, the weather was too bad to attempt the swim, but three days later, slathered in lanolin and petroleum jelly, he slipped into the water at 9:13 a.m. at Abbot's Cliff, south of Dover, England, and emerged on Sangatte Beach, south of Calais, France, 15 hours and 59 minutes later. Every half hour along the way, he was thrown a nutrient drink. Every two hours, he took a swish of Tom's of Maine mouthwash to rinse the salt water out of his mouth. With the current, Brunstad estimates he swam a total of 32 miles, the last 200 yards of which he did accompanied by Alison Streeter and Marcella MacDonald, two of the strongest Channel swimmers in the world. "I had an adrenaline rush about 100 m from the shore," he says. "A spotlight came on, and I looked up, and I could see buildings along the beach, and I could see a church, so I just really put my head down and dug, and all of a sudden I stroked my arm down and hit sand! We ran up on the beach, the two girls and I, and there were about a dozen French people there at 2:12 a.m. their time. We put our arms up in the air like Rocky and said, 'Praise God. God is great.' It was just surreal. Then we just waded back into the water and"--because even at 70, you can't just immigrate to France via swimming the Channel--"swam a couple hundred meters back to the boat."
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