Waterside GP, Dr Chris Cole is hoping to swim the English Channel from Dover to France just like comedian David Walliams for a children’s charity close to his heart.
Amazingly, Chris learnt to swim just under ten years ago, and took up open water swimming four years later. Last August he took part in a relay swim in the English Channel with a team of five people.
This year, he is taking on this immense challenge of swimming 21 miles across the Channel on his own. A daunting adventure especially for someone who did not learn to swim as a child and he hopes he will inspire other adults to take up swimming too.
Chris, who has been dubbed, the Eddie the Eagle of swimming by friends says: “I am no athlete and if I can do it – anyone can do it. Swimming is an amazing form of non- weight bearing exercise – promoting good heart and muscle fitness. The positive effects on mental health wellbeing shouldn’t be overlooked either.”
Chris aims to do the swim this summer dependent on the Covid-19 guidelines. He will be supported by a crew who will feed him and provide high energy drinks (with the occasional tin of chopped peaches or jellybabies as a treat) offered out from the boat on a long pole.
Touching the boat is strictly forbidden and he must stay in the water. In the style of Captain Webb, who made the first crossing 145 years ago, the swim will be in skins. No wetsuits are allowed. The water temperature will be around 15 degrees celsius and the swim will take between 16 and 24 hours to complete. Worldwide less than 2,000 people have achieved this swim.
As well as encouraging adults to take up exercise Chris is fundraising for The Sussex Snowdrop Trust.
“They looked after and supported my great nephew and his family after he was diagnosed with a brain infection just after he was born,” he said.
“The support they provided has been invaluable and I am desperate to help the charity continue to offer the same to other families. All swimmers need a really good reason to stay in the water mid channel especially when after 10 hours everything hurts, you are cold to the core, and you have just had your 15th sting from a jelly fish! This will be my reason.”
To support Chris’ fundraising, visit: justgiving.com/fundraising/swimthechannel2020
For more information on the charity, visit: thesussexsnowdroptrust.com