Moline native to Swim English Channel in August

Craig Frederiksen has been a swimmer his whole life

MOLINE, Ill. - One Moline native is taking his swimming passion to the next level. He's going to try to swim the English Channel in a couple of months. That's the span of water between southern England and northern France. He's been a lifetime swimmer, and he hopes this personal challenge will inspire others. 

Craig Frederiksen has been a swimmer since he was five.His parents say he never grew out of it. 

"He swam Division one, he swam for Western Illinois, and he's just kept it up ever since," said his mom Lynn Frederiksen. 

Saturday, he swam the entire length of the English Channel in one day. He'll be swimming the real waterway this August. 

"I've been swimming pretty much my whole life, so I just kind of picked it out as something I'd like to do one day," Craig said. 

This endeavor inspired the Two Rivers YMCA. When they heard he was attempting to swim the 21 miles from England to France they wanted to give others the chance to swim the same distance over three months. It's called the English Channel swim challenge, hosted by the Two Rivers Y. 

"So you can swim it individually or as a team, if you don't think you can do all 21 miles," said aquatics and family director Lesley Webster. 

The English Channel swim challenge starts May 1, and ends July 31: Just before Craig leaves to make his big, international swim. 

"For a swimmer, this is the holy grail. Mountain climbers have their Everest, swimmers have the English Channel," Webster said. 

"I was very nervous at the beginning, but as time's going on I'm getting better," Lynn said. 

His family stood by during Saturday's exhibition swim. They counted his laps, and timed him. 

He swam for nine hours Saturday, but come August, he'll be swimming much longer than that. 

"I'm training to hopefully be well under 12 hours," Craig said. 

Sign ups started Saturday for the English Channel swim challenge. To find out how to enter to swim 21 miles in three months, click here. 

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