I started open water swimming when I developed my interest in triathlon. I’ve never been a big fan of pool swimming so open water triathlons were the way forward for me. That was about 12 or 13 years ago.  I do a lot of lake swimming and as much sea swimming as I can get in. Cambridge is not the closest place to the sea but I try!  I find open water swimming refreshing and a great opportunity to be in my one space with my own thoughts. Life can be very hectic sometimes so it’s good to take some time out for me.

I’d heard that there was a swim across the Solent so I went searching on line and found Aspire.  They sounded organised and responsible. If you are putting your safety in the hands of others there is a degree of trust involved and through our communication I thought they were a team I could trust.

Swimming the Solent will be a great achievement for me. I’ve done similar distances but not in an environment like this. I’ve just got back from cycling around the Isle of Wight and the ferry crossing showed what that stretch of water can be like! I have no issue with the distance, my biggest fear is keeping the pace going. There are others around me who are relying on me to keep the pace going so the pressure is on.

David cycling on the Isle of Wight with two friends

My year of 12 challenges

This is my 60th year on this planet so to mark the occasion I decided to do 12 things during the year that push me outside of my comfort zone. In my 50th year I did and travelled to 50 places/things in the UK and that was such an amazing year, I wanted to do something similar. Cycling, running, swimming, it all helps to keep fit and healthy both in mind and body; cycle rides, marathons and swims, it all helps!

I really only started in my late 40s. As I got older I started to realise keeping fit was important to a healthy life so did a few organised bike rides and simply got the bug!  Since then I’ve done runs, swims and triathlons including the coast to coast bike ride, a Marathon and a 70.3 half Ironman; all so much fun and gave me a great sense of achievement.  If you’d asked me in my 30s if I’d be like this now, I’d have given you a very strange look!

I signed up to Aspire's Solent swim because I like a challenge that takes me out of my comfort zone and this one certainly does that. It’s also for a good cause and I thought, “why not raise some much-needed funds whilst doing all these challenges?” There are another seven this year: a couple of triathlons, the Solent swim, a 10k swim down the River Dart, to name but a few!  

All the events I am doing this year are to support Aspire. I love the fact that I’ve got something exciting to look forward to each month. It’s also about the associated activity, spending time with family and friends in a new place.

I think the Solent swim is the one I am looking forward to the most. Although it is a great personal challenge it is also a great team effort where you have to play your part in a bigger team. I have sat on both coastlines and spent time on the water between the Isle of Wight and the mainland but to swim it will put a new dynamic on it all. The ferry crossing will never seem the same again!

For my training I’m doing a lot of endurance work, both in and out of the water and aim to start to ramp things up in the pool in the coming weeks.  I’m going to continue fundraising to the end of the year to raise as much as I can, but I’m over £1,000 so far so it’s going well. Always more donations welcome though!

I don’t know anyone with a spinal cord injury but I feel very lucky that I can roll out of bed in the morning and go for a run, cycle or swim without giving it a second thought and I hope that continues for me for a long while yet. However, I realise that not everyone is as fortunate as I am and if I can, in some small way, help others to do the things in life that they want to, then I’m happy to help.

Sponsor David

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