Scott Coleman Biography
Claim to Fame: First person with diabetes to swim the English Channel
DOB: June 29, 1954
Diabetes Type: 1
Scott Coleman was the first man with diabetes to successfully swim the English Channel.
Coleman began swimming in the eighth grade and continued throughout his high school career. At the University of Pennsylvania, he became captain of the swim team but put swimming on hold after graduating.
At the age of 35, Coleman was diagnosed with diabetes. In order to keep his health under control, he made the decision to begin working out again and returned to the pool. He started training with a masters team in Boca Raton, Florida, and it wasnt long before he was not only competing in national championships, but placing in them as well. In 1994 he took sixth place in the World Championships in Montreal.
Coleman set his sights on bigger and better things. Open-water swimming piqued his interest, and he decided to begin a year of training that would prepare him to swim the 32-mile English Channel, an intimidating open-water venue filled with high tides and freezing-cold water.
For a swim across the Channel to be official, it must be approved and monitored by the Channel Swim Association (CSA), which has been regulating swims for over 50 years. The CSA requires a lengthy application process, including a physical examination and a six-hour qualifying swim in 60 water. When the CSA heard about Coleman's diabetes they determined that he could still swim, but would have to have a doctor on board the accompanying boat in addition to his three other crew members from Florida.
On August 17, 1996, a 42-year-old Scott Coleman successfully swam the over 20-mile stretch from Dover, England to Cap Gris-Nez, France in 10 hours. "I don't think there is anything I can't do because I am diabetic," Coleman says. "I don't feel limited at all. You just deal with it." It is this spirit, along with an iron will, fierce dedication and a well trained body that has enabled Coleman to attempt what's nearly impossible.
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