Tom Gregory

A Boy in the Water
  • A Boy in the Water

  • **Winner of the William Hill 2018 Sports Book of the Year Award**
    A Sunday Times Book of the Year and Telegraph Best Book of 2018
    'Extraordinary' Clare Balding

    The poignant, life-affirming story of a determined boy, a visionary coach, and how the dream of a record-breaking Channel swim became reality

    Eltham, South London. 1984: the hot fug of the swimming pool and the slow splashing of a boy learning to swim but not yet wanting to take his foot off the bottom. Fast-forward four years. Photographers and family wait on the shingle beach as a boy in a bright orange hat and grease-smeared goggles swims the last few metres from France to England. He has been in the water for twelve agonizing hours, encouraged at each stroke by his coach, John Bullet, who has become a second father.

    This is the story of a remarkable friendship between a coach and a boy, and a love letter to the intensity and freedom of childhood.

Tom Gregory grew up in Eltham, south-east London. He holds the record of being the youngest person to swim the English Channel, completing the crossing aged eleven in September 1988. (He still owns the Gold Blue Peter badge he received for the feat and the box tickets he was given to see Leyton Orient play at home.) Today, Tom Gregory lives in Surrey with his wife and two children. He takes his daughters swimming every weekend.