WEYMOUTH’S Linda Ashmore produced a sensational swim in challenging conditions to regain the world record for the oldest woman to swim the English Channel.

Ashmore, 71, encountered lumpy sea and jellyfish in the Channel, but crossed the stretch of water in 16 hours and 22 minutes.

Speaking to Echosport, Ashmore said the sea conditions were “horrible”.

She said: “I’m actually amazed at the response we’ve had on social media from the two women who held the record before.

“My objective now is to encourage women to challenge themselves.

“It was horrible, this time it was for slightly different reasons. As I looked out at sea I thought ‘oh God’.

“We’d been waiting for a weather window, then there was a gap in the weather and it looked okay. There was a bit of a wind but I got in – it was a struggle.”

Ashmore was also stung by jellyfish at the start and finish, adding: “They’re not too bad, it’s like a nettle sting. It just freaks you out a bit.”

Ashmore, also an Ironman world champion, held the record 11 years ago at the age of 60, but since then Australian Sue Oldham reclaimed her record at the age of 64, before American Pat Gallant-Charette crossed at 65.

The oldest man to have swum the Channel is South African Otto Thaning at 73.

Ashmore’s next challenge is the 24-hour Red Bull Timelaps at Windsor Park on October 27 and 28, where competitors ride for a gruelling 25 hours due to the clocks going back.

Ashmore decided to swim the channel again when she was diagnosed with breast cancer five years ago and is hoping to raise money for Cancer Research by completing the swim.

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