I have been a keen, if not hugely talented, swimmer for years. I was a club swimmer as a child but when I asked my coach why I was always in the B team he said it was because they didn’t have a C team - the 1970s were quite brutal for children!

I have been open water swimming for about 20 years, initially as a triathlete and then longer swimming events – 10k, 15k and 21k.  I started thinking about swimming the Channel and did a couple of relay Channel swims with Aspire, initially in 2020 and then again in 2022 as part of my training for my solo swim. 

The organisation at Aspire is second to none in terms of knowledge and experience.  They are a fantastic team - you are looked after from the very start - and it was a way to raise money for an excellent cause. 

Swimming the Channel became a real focus as it is a vast endeavour and so you have to commit to it completely.  I hadn’t taken on an event of this scale before and it’s an extraordinarily hard thing to do.  I did triathlons quite frequently in my 30s and 40s, even doing a couple of Ironman competitions, but they have nothing on this.  I realised that it would be the most extraordinary physical achievement of my life and given that I am now 57, I am not sure I will ever top that.  

Andrew swimming the Channel

It was hard to find the time to do the training, but it’s also essential to find the time, so I did. My long-suffering family are entitled to my full attention now.  I developed an injury about four weeks before the swim and had to stop training entirely.  I had a lot of massages and a lot of painkillers.  My shoulder was very painful at the start of the swim but fortunately after a few hours everything else hurt too, so I stopped thinking about my shoulder!

I started my swim at 4.10am on Thursday 10th August.  All went well for the first 10 hours – apart from when I wandered off away from the boat (the cardinal sin) so that the pilot said “where on earth is he going?” when I took off left from Shakespeare’s beach, back towards the marina.

Andrew swimming the Channel at sunrise

My fundraising went very well and is still going well – so far I’ve raised over £11,000 which feel great, but I’m not finished yet.  One of the most useful things was the WhatsApp group with updates on the swim. The crew put up pictures, videos and maps up which generated a huge amount of interest and a lot of the people who got active in the group ended up re-sponsoring me, caught up in the moment.  My favourite moment of the swim was being told that some of the people on the WhatsApp group were offering to increase their sponsorship if one of my support team managed to hit me on the head when they threw the feed bottle in! 

Andrew on the boat with his support crew

Conditions remained perfect for the first 10 hours, which was great.  But as I was approaching France the tide turned against me and I just felt like I stopped moving; it was really tough. When I reached France, after swimming for 15 hours and 40 minutes, I felt relieved, happy, proud and glad I had not let anyone down. All these things and tired… mostly tired, and absolutely certain I will never ever do it again!  But I am very satisfied: I am a Channel swimmer.

Sponsor Andrew

Swimming events

How we help