Doc: The Oldest Man in the Sea (1980)
DVD; approx. 30 minutes
Documents the successful 1979 attempt of James “Doc” Counsilman to become the oldest man at the time to swim the English Channel.
On September 14, 1979, James “Doc” Counsilman (1920-2004) stepped into the waters of the English Channel, attempting to become the oldest man at that time to successfully complete the challenging swim. What made the swim even more difficult for Counsilman was that four years earlier, he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease.
In addition to coaching Indiana University to 20 consecutive Big Ten titles, six consecutive NCAA wins, and 12 national AAU wins, Counsilman’s success extended to the international arena. Doc was head swimming coach of the two most successful USA Olympic men’s swimming teams in 1964 (Tokyo) and 1976 (Montreal). In 1976, the U.S.A. men’s swimming team won 12 of possible 13 gold medals and brought home over two-thirds of all possible medals.
This 30-minute documentary follows Counsilman through his preparations and for the successful completion of his 13-hour swim.