Signing up to the Aspire Channel Swim was a no brainer as I swim regularly (five days a week, most weeks) at my local Everyone Active at Vale Farm Sports Centre in Sudbury. At the back of mind, I also wanted to do a charity event in memory of my mother who passed away on 9th May 2023 aged 99 years and 9 months. I was also inspired to help Aspire in the commendable work they do to supporting people paralysed by Spinal Cord Injury, for which currently there is no cure, to live independent lives.

I am not a natural swimmer and to this day I am still somewhat uncomfortable in water.  I had no opportunity to learn to swim at a young age, as there were no facilities to do so in Africa where I was born. I have largely taught myself how to swim since I started taking my own children and, more recently, my grandchildren to swimming lessons. 

Ramesh standing by a swimming pool holding a certificate

When I retired in 2016 I started swimming regularly at my local pool. I have significantly improved my swimming techniques since starting swimming regularly, thanks to tips given by more experienced regular fellow swimmers. Slowly but surely I have built up the lengths and I now swim up to 50 per session. I mainly swim front crawl and lately have been interspersing it with breaststroke too.

I enjoy swimming as it makes me feel relaxed and keeps me fit and in reasonable overall shape. With the social swimming that I do I also enjoy the camaraderie with the fellow regular swimmers that I have built up over the last six years or so.   

Swimming also provides a structured approach to retired life with a regular early morning (6:30am) swim five days a week which sets me up for the rest of the day.

The Aspire Channel Swim has motivated me to stretch myself and improve my stamina, as I have set myself the target to complete the 22 mile swim in six weeks (30 swimming sessions). I started off by swimming 52 lengths per session in the first week, 54 lengths in the second week and I’m currently at 56 lengths per session. Swimming 22 miles n 12 weeks is quite an easy task for me, which is why I’ve I set myself the challenge to do this in half the time. I am well on target to achieve my objective and greatly proud of it. 

Ramesh standing by a swimming pool in his Aspire Channel Swim hat

I find fundraising difficult. I started by sending a personal plea for sponsorship using WhatsApp to my extended family and friends. On my JustGiving page I pledged to match the first £250 of sponsorship.  Sponsorship was a little slow to build up so I sent out a personal plea to some more contacts. I also kept people informed of my weekly progress and believe I may have shamed them into sponsoring me to get me over the target, which I’ve now more than doubled it.

I have thoroughly enjoyed undertaking this challenge. It has given me confidence in being able to stretch myself and improve my stamina and it gives me a great deal of satisfaction to be in a position to help those in need. It also makes me grateful that I am fortunate to be able to live a ‘normal’ life. I’m just happy to be able to help people who have been less fortunate than me. 

Sponsor Ramesh

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