I signed up to this year’s Aspire Channel Swim because I had seen it advertised at the Aspire Leisure Centre in the past and had been keen to do it.  I swim pretty much 3 to 4 times per week and thought, why not clock my lengths and make them worthwhile! 

I try to swim at least three times per week and do 1.5km each time. I used to swim in the school team.. oh wow, about 35 years ago! My swimming teacher was the inspirational Ms McBurney and I can picture her now at the poolside!  I have always loved swimming. I love the feeling of being in the water and having time to focus on just me and the water. I have a lot of respect for water and I love the sea too.

Nowadays my main motivation for swimming is keeping fit, for my wellbeing and helping to stay toned. I am not much bothered about technique or speed, although I am still very competitive and I use my Garmin watch to better my time each time I swim. I have also learnt about SWOLF which I pretend to know a lot about! I watch a lot of YouTube videos to try to pick up tips and I love watching professional swimming on TV. I truly admire the swimmers; their style, finesse and power in the water is fabulous. I love all sports and play hockey and tennis too.

The Aspire Channel Swim challenge commits you to doing something and when you love it, hopefully it becomes more doable. I am excited to work my way through the distance and clock up the miles.

However, managing my hair when I swim is a nightmare! Even with a cap - and sometimes two caps - my hair still gets soaked each time and I have to wash it and dry it every time, which can take longer than the time in the pool! 

I swim at the Aspire Leisure Centre in Stanmore. It is a great place to go to. The parking is easy and the staff are so friendly and the pool is super!

For my fundraising, I set myself a target which I thought would be achievable. It’s hard asking people for money and I know having spare cash to donate can be scarce, but I feel that whatever I can raise is better than nothing raised. I am delighted to have already exceeded my target amount and I am so grateful for the generosity of all my sponsors.

Danine with her daughter Safy in swimming costumes

I don’t know anyone with a spinal cord injury but I work supporting people with neurodegenerative diseases and with one of my clients I am trying to arrange for them to visit the pool here again; they would absolutely love to feel the water again. I am hoping to bring them to a dip session if I can make it happen. 

It means so much to me to be supporting people with spinal injuries. I truly admire people living well with Spinal Cord Injury and other neurodegenerative diseases that affect mobility, and who lead independent lives. Accessing swimming, playing basketball, wheelchair tennis, engaging in all sports and fitness is all brilliant; it must be accessible to everyone.

Well done to everyone taking part in this challenge. I know it isn't quite The Channel itself, but it's the doing it that counts.  And maybe I will still celebrate with a croissant and cafe au lait on the other side!

Sponsor Danine

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