I take on the challenge every year because I love the challenge of swimming 22 miles over a relatively short period of time. After my first Aspire Channel Swim in 2009, I was hooked to the pleasure that completing it brought me. I did not know I could swim 22 miles but since then, I have enjoyed it as a regular seasonal activity. It also led me to continue swimming the rest of the year, although at a slightly lower intensity. I was never a strong swimmer. I wanted to learn diving, and needed the exercise, so I felt this challenge would help bring up my swimming. At the end I did not do much diving but I still swim.

Sebastien wrapped in a towel outside

As I am not a very fast swimmer and am very busy with work and family, I need to plan carefully when I can do my swimming sessions.  I swim at Marshall Street and Putney Leisure Centres, near my workplace and home.  I aim for 1½ km to 1 mile per session and a minimum of two to three times per week to compensate for the weeks I may not be able to do it, for example if I am travelling or away on holiday.  Swimming 22 miles requires planning and dedication; you shouldn’t really skip a session, but when you finish the challenge with a few weeks to spare, it is great, year after year.

Swimming makes me relax; I enjoy swimming very much in a meditative state, length after length, just being in the movement, washing all my worries away.  Fitness and health are high on my list of reasons to swim but it’s also part of my weekly wellbeing.

The Aspire Channel Swim helps by making me swim regularly and gives me a concrete objective to achieve within a given period of time. My advice for people taking on the challenge for the first time would be to plan for success by scheduling your swims ahead and sticking to your plan. If you are worried about not completing the 22 miles, go for many short swims and enjoy each one of them.

Sebastien wrapped in a towel by an outside pool

I will continue doing the Aspire Channel Swim as long as I can as it is a regular priority for me now. I love the Aspire Channel Swim, it brings meaning to completing those lengths in the pool and I hope, in a little way, my swimming and fundraising help a few people live a better life.

Sponsor Sebastien 

Aspire Channel Swimmer stories

Sign up to the Aspire Channel Swim

How we help