CHRIS Shapland is preparing for a huge feat that will etch his name in history.
He will attempt to swim 33km across the English Channel and become the second oldest Australian to do so.
The swimming teacher learned the art of swimming in the Toowoomba Municipal Baths which his parents leased from Toowoomba Council between 1947 and 1960.
The cold temperature of the baths, about 16 degrees, will be similar to the cold waters of the English Channel.
It will take about 12 hours for Mr Shapland, 69, to complete the epic swim and he'll be racing against time to beat a tide change that could sweep him off course.
The way people swim the channel hasn't changed much since it was first completed by Captain Matthew Webb in 1875.
Strict regulations will restrict Mr Shapland from wearing a wetsuit or flippers and he'll do the swim in just a swimsuit and goggles.
A support team will lower food to him every 30 minutes so he can keep his strength up.
Now living at the Sunshine Coast, he trains in his backyard pool, specially built with a device that pumps out current allowing him to swim in one spot.
He's also done open water swims in Noosa and Mooloolaba.
Setting off from a beach in England in mid-September, he won't stop until he reaches the shoreline of France.
He'll swim in a curve, fighting the strong currents off the coast of France.
Man-eating sharks aren't common in the channel and Mr Shapland said his main concern would be jellyfish.
Remaining relaxed would be key to a successful swim, he said.
"It becomes more mental than physical - it's not such a physical feat if you know how to swim properly," he said.
While it's a personal goal to swim the channel, he also wants to draw attention to swimming.
"If you know how to swim correctly it's something you can do for the rest of your life.
"It's impact free and gives your cardiovascular system a real workout."
It's not an easy feat and more people have climbed Mt Everest than swum the channel.
Mr Shapland has fond memories of swimming in Toowoomba at a time when endurance swimming was respected.
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