Simon was part of the Aspire Kookaburras Relay Channel Swim team who successfully swam from Dover to France on 16th July in 15 hours 32 minutes.

I decided to swim the Channel because it’s a challenge I’ve been considering for a while now and I thought that a Relay Channel Swim would be a good way to test myself for a future solo.  Before this I had done a fair bit of open water swimming - River Dart, Lake Windermere, Brownsea island, Thames Marathon – and I had also done Aspire’s two-way Solent swim and so I knew how well arranged their swims are.  I have always enjoyed sporting challenges but the Channel is the big one as far as I’m concerned!

Relay Channel Swimmer Simon on the boat

Training was a bit tricky as I don’t live close to the Sea but as soon as my regular lake opened I was straight in!  As a team, we got together at Christchurch to sea swim a few times, which was a massive help and great fun.  It was amazing how the team all got on. Three of the team lived close to each other with the other three living miles apart but it just worked so well and we are already planning swim meets and other events we will all do.  My advice for others taking on this challenge is to not over think any part of the swim; just get fit and swim open water in skins as much as you can, enjoy the challenge, train hard and keep raising money.  Lockdown impacted somewhat on my ability to train, however I cycle a lot so endurance wise I was fine.  We have had some amazing weather so the daily working from home commute built the base fitness well and then regular yoga kept me strong until I could get back in the open water again.

Relay Channel Swimmer Simon swimming in the Channel

I loved every second of our swim to France, but I’m now worried in addicted!  Before the swim I had a fear of jellyfish, but I ended up swimming through a bloom of jellyfish for around 40 minutes during my second swim which was the most incredible thing I had ever seen… and the stings weren’t that bad!  I swam three times, each an hour, and then a little at the end to the beach in France.  Being part of the team on the boat was great fun and everyone was so supportive and when we reached France it felt like such a brilliant and massive achievement and we had a great celebration!  Our boat leader was Des and he was a star!

Team Kookaburras before their swim

Aspire is a charity that I will always support - their organisation of swimming events is spot on - but for me the main reason is because four years ago I had a serious cycling accident, fracturing C2, T5 and T6.  There was a moment when I came home from hospital after my accident in a full neck and body brace and I realised I wasn’t sure how we would have coped as a family had my injuries been worse.  I now know Aspire would have been there to support me through it and so it’s extremely important for me to raise funds so Aspire can support those who lives change for ever.  

Relay Channel Swimmer Simon on the boat

I hadn’t been able to push my fundraising as much as I would normally have due to the uncertainty of the swim due to the Covid-19 situation, however once I started it picked up really quickly – people I know have been amazing.  So far I’ve raised £1,210 but will carry on raising money the rest of the year as I know it will go to the people who really need it, so that’s a big plus for me. 

Although 2020 has pretty much been written off now in regards to events, I have a few big cycling events that have been moved to 2021 and then hopefully the Channel again!

Sponsor Simon

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