In 2018, when I was living in London, I saw a poster at the Olympic Centre pool and thought it looked like a fun challenge. After doing some research and seeing what the swim was in aid of, I thought it was something I had to do.  I’ve always struggled with issues with my hip but have no comprehension of what it would be like to have a spinal injury and thought it was something I could do to help at least a little.  Swimming is something I have always loved to do and so swimming for such a great cause just makes sense. 

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I’ve struggled with hip issues for the past couple of years so haven’t been able to swim or exercise, but after having a hip replacement earlier this year. the ideal place to start my recovery was back in the pool. When I saw the email from Aspire about this year’s challenge it just felt like I had to do it and really challenge the new hip.

When swimming 22 miles I like to go hard at the beginning and get as many miles in as I can early on in the 12 weeks as you never know what can happen. I like to try and do 1-2 miles per swim and (life permitting) get in 2-3 sessions per week. I find breaking it down makes it easier. This year, unlike, the last few is about getting my fitness back to where it was or better if possible. With the hip issues it has been a struggle to exercise so it would be nice to get rid of the extra pounds.

The Aspire Channel Swim gives me something to focus on. If I know the challenge is happening it drives me on to get to the pool get in and get it done.  

I swim at Hadleigh Pool. The biggest challenge really is getting my fitness back up in time to take part. Also not being able to do breaststroke means I have to go at it a different way.  

My main advice to other swimmers would be to remember swimming is fun and to relax through it. Break it into chunks and chip away at the distance.  For me swimming like meditation; just zoning out, breathing and keeping calm. It’s something I have always loved to do. 

Justin in a national park

I’m not the best at asking people for help and sponsorship kind of feels like that, but knowing what cause it’s for will help me put it out there.  I usually ask my friends and family through word of mouth or a message and colleagues through email, as well as and through my Instagram account where I will post updates before and during the challenge.

It means a lot to know that I’m able to help out in any small way and support people with spinal cord injuries. These are life changing injuries and if me swimming can help just one person then it’s worth it.

Sponsor Justin

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