The English Channel is no longer in lockdown and these relay swimmers can’t wait to cross it!

Tony Britton, PR and Fundraising Manager, ME Association

A group of super-fit open water swimmers from Swansea will take on one of swimming’s toughest challenges later this month – a relay swim across the English Channel.   

They all jumped at the chance to swim The Channel as soon as the sport’s official regulator, the Channel Swimming Association, reopened the crossings after the covid lockdown.

Team members (from the left) Sue Croft, Kim Adair, Shelley Griffin and Ashley Pearce are pictured at Langland Bay near Swansea after reporting for a training session last weekend.

“We’re a group of three ladies, all over 50, and one young man who have enjoyed open water swimming for years. I aim to do something special for a charity once a year.”   

Kim Adair

Kim is a former beach lifeguard who has completed a number of charity swims in recent years. She now works as an administrator for the executive team at Swansea University’s College of Human and Health Sciences. She picked the ME Association to be one of two charities to benefit from the relay swim.

Kim has booked the pilot support boat for week commencing August 17 and the team will attempt to cross from Dover to France in between 12 and 14 hours – depending on the sea and weather conditions on the day.

It’s 22 miles as the crow flies between beaches but it’s just not possible to swim in a straight line. Channel swimming and a heap of rip tides and hidden currents don’t allow for that.   

There’s also the little thing of swimming through the busiest shipping lanes in the world. Swimmers and their back-up teams have to watch out for big ships cutting across their paths.   

Kim said each member of the team will do at least three, one-hour swims before taking their socially-distanced breaks aboard the pilot boat, which will also contain an observer from the Channel Swimming Association.   

She nominated the ME Association to benefit this year because her 23-year-old niece Emily has been housebound with M.E. for the last nine years.

Emily has also a number of overlapping conditions including Hashimoto’s disease, polycystic ovarian syndrome and coeliac disease, which remained undiagnosed for some years and runs in the family.   

“Emily was always a bubbly, happy little girl who loved ballet and being on her feet. Nowadays, despite having this cruel debilitating disease, she faces challenges daily with dignity, grace and always a smile. We all long for the day when she can lead the life of a healthy young woman.”   

Kim Adair

Kim’s team mates include: Sue Croft, a lecturer in osteopathy at the university  who has crossed the Channel on a number of occasions including a solo crossing; Ashley Pearce, a student osteopath who completed a 10km swim last year; and Shelley Griffin, a nurse who has completed triathlon events for charity.  

Shelley has also named Cancer Research UK as a second charity to benefit from their fundraising.  

Good luck and a fair wind from everybody at the ME Association! We are in awe of anyone who enjoys open water swimming and immensely grateful for what you’re planning.   

If you would like to show your support for these intrepid swimmers, please put some money into their fundraising page on JustGiving.  

The ME Association

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