The challenge runs from 18th September to 11th December and is free for anyone of any age or swimming ability to sign up to at www.aspirechannelswim.co.uk.
Emma says, “This is my fifth year of taking on the Aspire Channel Swim but I absolutely love it! I had always thought about signing up for the challenge but I always loved the gym and classes and with working full time I just felt that I did just not have time to complete it.
“I then began to suffer with plantar fasciitis in my feet and the doctor told me that I need to find a new form of exercise for a while. First I panicked! Then I anxiously signed up to the Aspire Channel Swim because, although I have always been able to swim, I had never made it a real habit. Thoughts of “what if?” filled my head but I cracked on and I really enjoyed the sense of achievement clocking up the miles and, along with the health benefits, it was great knowing that I was helping such a worthwhile cause.
“The following year I signed up again and although we went through several lockdowns, the Aspire Channel Swim kept me going, and even with the pool closing during lockdown I still manage to complete the challenge and fundraise.
“I learnt to swim in the 70’s and although can swim breaststroke I was never taught how to swim front crawl so this year I decided that as well as taking on the Aspire Channel Swim again at Collingtree Park Health Club and swimming breaststroke, I am also learning how to swim front crawl. This has really taken me out of my comfort zone and at times it has been daunting having swimming lessons as an adult, but I am persisting and when I can crack the breathing, I will be there!
“Taking on the Aspire Channel Swim is rewarding in so many ways. It has kept me sane when I was unable to exercise in the gym, it has pushed me to want to learn to swim better but more importantly than that it has allowed me to help people with spinal cord injuries - what a great feeling!”
Katy Boyd, who manages the Aspire Channel Swim says, “Every year amazing swimmers all over the UK go to great lengths for Aspire. Over the past 23 years the Aspire Channel Swim has raised over £7 million for people paralysed by Spinal Cord Injury, which helps Aspire support thousands of people annually - something we're hugely proud of. Anyone can take part in the challenge, regardless of ability and we love to see people taking part in different ways! Whether you're taking on all 22 miles yourself, signing up as a team with your friends and family, or swimming the distance in a swim school, sign up for free today and conquer the Channel with us this year.”
Find out more about the Aspire Channel Swim: www.aspirechannelswim.co.uk