A New Zealand swimmer has completed a gruelling swim across the English Channel to France - for the second time.

David Coleman of Devonport swam just over 19km from the Channel island of Alderney to France, finishing just before 7am (NZT) today.

Last year he swam from Jersey, a distance of nearly 29km.

He believed he was the first person to swim to France's coast from two different channel islands. Mr Coleman wore Speedos for the 6 hours and 40 minutes swim and believed he was the first person to swim the Channel from Alderney without a wetsuit.

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"It was really really hard work. The toughest swim I've ever done," he said.

"The tides here are ferocious so it was really really hard to get in."

Mr Coleman decided to do the swim a couple of months ago because he thought it would be "a bit of a buzz".

"I like the idea of being the first person to swim to France from two different islands.

"I just had to do it to see if it was possible."

Completing it felt brilliant, he said.

Tonight he was looking forward to a beer - but he did not think he would be able to sleep.

"After a swim like that you just keep reliving it, the adrenaline's still running."