Sir Michael Read, the 'King of the Channel': "With swimming I don't feel the weight of age"
In Great Britain he is known as 'The King of the Channel' for having crossed it 33 times, the last one in 2015 at the age of 74. Sir Michael Read, who was made a member of the Order of the British Empire in 2012, is now 81 years old, with the vitality of a 25-year-old and an undying love for swimming. He is one of the symbolic figures of the European Masters Aquatics Championships Roma 2022. He competed in the men's open water swimming 3km in Ostia, and then on the blocks at the Unipol Blustadium Sporting Centre in Pietralata in the 800m and 400m freestyle and as a true highlander in the 400m individual medley. "I love competing in the most difficult races and I hope to complete them all," Read said. "Swimming is my life. Now it also helps me not to feel the weight of age: basically, in the water we are all the same, light. The passion and adrenalin are the same as always."
For him, his return to Rome as an athlete has the taste of revenge. "I was entered in the 1960 Olympics in the men's 4x200m freestyle, then due to a knee injury five days before the Games, I was excluded from the starting quartet and relegated to reserve. I saw my teammates from the grandstand of the Swimming Stadium. Sixty-two years later I am finally competing in a wonderful setting where everything is organised to perfection," he said.
The relationship between the Brighton baronet, inducted into the Swimming Hall of Fame in 1979, and Italy, on the other hand, has been going on for a long time, and again thanks to swimming: "I am an honorary citizen of Dervio, a small town in the province of Lecco, which lies on Lake Como. I have crossed the lake four times: Dervio-Lecco and Lecco-Dervio. They were wonderful experiences."
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