How swimming women helped Greg crack the English Channel

They've done it! Greg Whyte and his relay team of four women from ITV This Morning's Challenge Of A Lifetime have cracked the Channel. Exhausted but elated, Greg said: "It was very tough, but the girls were fabulous.

"Conditions were so bad they would have challenged an accomplished swimmer. But the ladies got straight in. They were pragmatic and brave, but absolutely bushed by the end."

It came 13 hours and 57 minutes after they'd entered the icy water at Dover last Wednesday.

They swam in two hour blocks. Greg took the last lap. He admitted: "It wasn't what I planned. It would have been perfect if one of the girls could have come out on the French coasts.

"But it was a double-edged sword – the sea was incredibly rough, it was pitch black and scary. We were supposed to finish at Cap Grisnez but the tide changed and pushed us further north to Cap Blanc, which is quite rocky.

"There were big waves and I ended up being quite badly cut on my hands and arms."

While he was on the support boat, Greg had to take over the commentating from one of the sound crew who was laid low with sea sickness. The ex-Ashcroft schoolboy and seven-times modern pentathlon winner described the team's reactions when they finally reached their goal: "It was funny. By that stage were all exhausted. So our feelings of elation were dampened by fatigue.

"It'd been an awfully long day in the boat. But we had a lovely time with Fern and Phil the next day on ITV's This Morning and I'm sure we'll all get together for a celebration some time in the future.

Greg was full of praise for the four women he had coached during the past few months to take on their Challenge of A Lifetime. He said: "It was quite a challenge for me too – very different from dealing with elite athletes.

"The ladies were emotional and vulnerable. It's been quite a journey for them – and for me.

"They've overcome various personal tragedies to take part and I think they've got a new sense of direction.

"They all say they want to continue open water swimming."

Greg's currently in conversation about his next project – a coast-to-coast cycle ride across America.

He's also toying with the idea of making another solo attempt on the Channel: "It's such a miserable prospect that I've got to be truly committed. I've been out there so many times. But it's still something I want to conquer."

Meanwhile his brother Steve, a maths teacher at Berkhamsted Collegiate School, is getting ready for his attempt tomorrow.

The weather looks reasonable and Steve is hoping to raise a considerable sum through sponsorship for Greg's charity CRY (Cardiac Risk in the Young).