My swimming career started when I was 7 years old, following hip joint surgery when I was 5 due to misalignment.  I started to compete at age 8 and continued until I was around 20, when I started my mandatory military service, as I’m Swedish, and then my university studies.

I didn't swim from 1999 to 2011, but then I moved back to my hometown and joined a masters team at my old swim club.  They were all going to swim a short 3km in the famous open water race in Sweden - The Vansbrosimningen - so I joined them in the spring when they started to swim outdoors.  I totally fell in love with the feeling of swimming outside and not being bound to a pool.

Patrick swimming in the English Channel

The feeling of swimming in open water without a wetsuit is something else. I get to be a part of the big waters. I have a huge respect of the water and always feel that I'm a small visitor in an alien environment.  In 2023 I swam the English Channel in a time of 13 hours 31 minutes. Many open water swimmers have to conquer their thoughts and doubts and for the first four hours of my Channel swim my head was trying to convince me to just touch the boat and get out.  

I found out about Aspire's Sealand Swim when I was looking for something to do after the Channel, preferably in the UK as I really enjoyed my time there.  A new friend, Dirk, said that he always raises money through swimming with Aspire. I got curious and saw that Aspire had quite a lot of swimming events and then I noticed Sealand.

I remembered this as the safe haven of radio pirates and also that Pirate Bay tried to buy it back in the day (they never succeeded).  To me, it’s a mythical and magical place, something that has been on my radar since a young age. To be able to see it up close and "escape" from it back to shore... wow, what a swim it will be! Being able to say that I was the first Swede to do it will be amazing. It’s not my main goal but it will be a super nice add-on to the swim.

My training was going great until April then work took over my life and I felt that I was starting to head towards the famous wall. From out of nowhere I got the opportunity to start a new job at another company now in May. So I have still trained, just not as much as I would have liked to. I combine swimming with running. I hate running but my neighbour is an avid runner and he drags me with him on his sessions.  I’m averaging 20-30k running per week and my swim sessions are around 5k per session.  From the end of May I moved my swimming outside and am able to do longer hours and sessions. There’s a lake that is approximately 500m across, perfect for swimming hours on end!

I am looking forward to my swim but, as always, I’m my biggest critic. For the first hour or two I know I will battle with my thoughts. Then we have these lovely jellyfishes that are in the sea. I haven't encountered them yet and they do really scare me!  

Taking myself out of the equation I really do look forward to the swim and meeting people, staying in Felixstowe and travelling.

I wanted to swim for Aspire because I’m able to do this challenge at the time I wish, living a "normal" life and taking daily tasks for granted; not all people have this luxury if they have a spinal cord injury. If I can help and raise awareness and money to help, then of course I have to do it.  However, I find fundraising hard, especially as Aspire is a UK charity so many Swedes are sceptical.  In July we’re holding a yard sale and all the proceeds will go to Aspire.  I’m cleaning out our house of old stuff to sell and that will go to Aspire as well. I will also do some local promotion closer to the swim and try to involve more companies.

Patrik swimming in a river

The open water community in UK is simply amazing. I'm in awe of it! No matter who you are, how you look or how fast or slow you are, you're always greeted with open arms. I was amazed when I realised this having been in Dover for only three weeks. I wish I lived closer so I could be there every week!

I wish that more Swedish organisations would see the open water community as a chance to raise funds for charity. I think many more open water swimmers would show up and media would also see it.  Maybe this is something for me to ‘take care of’ in the future…

Sponsor Patrik

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