This is a reading comprehension exercise for children. It is written by Susan Fineman, a reading specialist in the New Haven, Conn., school district.

FOLKESTONE, England--Boston teacher Peter Jurzynski acknowledges that he's getting slower, yet he's done it again. He swam the English Channel for the eighth time.

"It's an awesome way to see France," Jurzynski, 48, said after returning to this south England coastal town. "I intend to go on doing this until my seventies."

Jurzynski made the 21-mile crossing in 14 hours, 57 minutes, about twice the record time. It was also well outside his best time, of 12 hours, 7 minutes, back in 1987, when he was 36.

The record number of crossings--38--set this year by a British swimmer, Alison Streeter, also looks outside Jurzynski's scope. He still hopes to set the U.S. record for the most number of crossings, which he said is 11, set by John Erikson.

Jurzynski does it for the love of what he calls "pure sport"--none of the sponsors, trainers and huge fees associated with many sports.

Duncan Taylor, of the Channel Swimming Association, which monitors the crossings and keeps records, said Jurzynski has become a well-known figure in Folkestone.

"He's a real character, and we're all very fond of him," Taylor said.

Most swimmers, who need to hire a boat and a crew to accompany them, start from the nearby port of Dover.

Jurzynski, a teacher at Boston's Gavin Middle School, took up swimming when his political career ended. He is a former Springfield City Council member who ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 1985.

He trains in Boston Harbor and in his hometown of Naugatuck, Conn.

QUIZ

1. Peter Jurzynski is:

a) a well-known sportscaster.

b) a citizen of England.

c) a long-distance swimmer.

2. The Boston teacher recently:

a) celebrated his 70th birthday in France.

b) set a swimming record.

c) swam the English Channel.

3. Swimmers must hire a boat and crew:

a) to stay with them during the crossing.

b) to help them train for the event.

c) from the port of Dover.

4. Jurzynski:

a) remained in the water for almost 15 hours.

b) has completed 21 crossings.

c) was sponsored by the Channel Swimming Association.

5. The middle-school teacher began swimming:

a) after losing a mayoral election in 1985.

b) while working as a Springfield City Council member.

c) before moving to Naugatuck, Conn.

6. In 1987, the adventurous American:

a) finished the crossing in less than 12 hours.

b) swam his best time.

c) both a and b.

7. A British swimmer, Alison Streeter:

a) crossed the English Channel in 38 minutes.

b) spotted Jurzynski with her telescope.

c) holds the record for the most crossings.

8. To beat the record for the most crossings by an American, Jurzynski must:

a) swim faster than John Erikson.

b) make four more crossings.

c) stop training in Boston Harbor.

9. The people of Folkestone:

a) look forward to Jurzynski's visits.

b) are asked to monitor the swimmers every summer.

c) think the American is a famous politician.

10. The 48-year-old swimmer:

a) is tired of the sport.

b) expects to swim faster next year.

c) enjoys the challenge of the sport.

ANSWER KEY:

1. c, 2. c, 3. a, 4. a, 5. a, 6. b, 7. c, 8. b, 9. a, 10. c