KUSA - Some people do some things for reasons you don't have to understand. That is, unless you're married to George Thornton.
"We've been married for 46 years," Louise Thornton said.
Over the last three years she has been waiting at the pool side, along the banks of a lake near their home in Fort Collins, or on a boat during long open swims. George is trying to be the oldest man to ever swim the English Channel at the age of 73.
"It's the ultimate swim challenge," George, a retired Colorado State University professor, said. "There are some swims that are farther. But, you know, it's the iconic one that everybody knows and everybody's talked about."
The problem is, he has been delayed by weather problems. The winds are too strong and the ocean is too rough for him to make the 21 mile swim from England to France.
"You just have to wait and be ready to go," George said.
Last year, he tried to swim the English Channel to no avail.
"Last year, we went over and I was all trained up and ready to go, but the weather was bad for two weeks," George said.
The reason he's trying to make history is not necessarily to make up for last year. He made this attempt a fundraising event for a group called Team Fort Collins. The challenge, dubbed 21 for 21, aims to raise $21,000 in donations for the 21 miles he plans to swim. The money will support this program which works on drug and alcohol prevention for kids.
"So, if you donate, I'll say, 'this is for Ben, this is for Ben, this is for Ben' (with each stroke) for 30 minutes," George said.
He is also doing it because he never thought he would have this chance again.
"I had prostate surgery," George said. "So, I'm a prostate cancer survivor."
Less than a year ago, he was on the operating table.
"About two months after the surgery and he said, 'Well, I think I can do it'," Louise said.
Less than a year later, George and Louise are sitting in Dover, England waiting for a break in the weather. The boat captain estimates the earliest he can try his swim is early next week.
If you want to follow his progress, his family is maintaining a blog at: http://georgethorntonenglishchannel.wordpress.com/
If you want to donate, you can do so at the web site for Team Fort Collins by clicking here: http://www.teamfortcollins.org/
"I have no doubt he can accomplish it, total faith that he can do it," Louise said. "I'm very proud of him."
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