Aspire’s open water swimmers raise £1 million Thanks to our 2017 Relay Channel swimmers, who have already raised £32,000 between them, the total raised by open water swimming since we started in 2009 has now reached £1 million. Aspire offers a number of open water swimming events, from Loch Ness to the Solent to relays across the English Channel. We first became involved in Channel swimming in 2009, when someone with a spinal cord injury asked if we could help them swim the Channel. That first year we organised a relay team of seven people, including two with a spinal cord injury. The team crossed in the autumn (but do not appear on the list of successful swims as one of the swimmers had to wear a wetsuit for personal wellbeing and wetsuits are not permitted under Channel swimming rules). We realised that there must be other enthusiastic people interested in swimming the Channel who we could join together to form a team and raise money to help spinal cord injured people and so in 2010 we booked three boats. The rest is history! This year, 2017, will be our ninth taking people across the Channel. To date we have seen nearly 30 successful relay teams swimming to France, with only a small number forced to turn back due to adverse and unforeseen weather conditions. Many of these swimmers have gone on to do other swims, including a number of solo Channel crossings. Several have returned to swim further relays for Aspire (five crossings is currently the highest). If these swims stats are impressive, then the fundraising stats are breathtaking! In total, Aspire’s incredible Channel swimmers have raised over £650,000. We also started offering other open water swims, including Solent crossings, Loch Ness relays and Night Swims, which have all contributed to our current £1 million total. This has made a huge difference to Aspire’s work and to the lives of people with Spinal Cord Injury. Andrew Ogierman, Aspire’s Challenge Events Manager says, “This is an outstanding achievement from all of our open water swimmers over the years. It is an honour to help swimmers achieve their personal dreams to complete swims which some of them thought they were not capable of. We are continuously expanding the variety of swims that we offer and this year sees our first River Arun swim. This is a perfect swim for confident pool swimmers who are interested in trying out open water swimming… who knows, perhaps this will be their first step to becoming Channel swimmers themselves and help us reach our second million!” Find out more about swimming with Aspire.