Even though I enjoy spending time in the water, I’ve never been the strongest of swimmers. I could always get myself from one end of the pool and back without any major issues but I don’t think I ever learned a proper technique so it always seemed a lot harder than it should be. Now that I’m an adult, I think the chances of me going for any properly structured swimming lessons is getting quite slim, but a recent opportunity to partner with a national charity came up and I decided to use it as a little swimming challenge to myself.
Aspire are a national charity who support people with spinal cord injuries and to raise awareness and much-needed money for the cause they run an annual swimming challenge. The Aspire Channel Swim sees participants swim a total of 22 miles (the length of the English Channel) in their own time over a period of 12 weeks. That might seem like a rather daunting distance for a weak-swimmer but you don’t have to do it alone, you can enlist the help of some mates and do it together as a team. Aspire asked me to join their team of 10 bloggers and influencers which meant that each of us only had 2.2 miles to complete…easy!
My regular gym doesn’t have a pool so the nice people at Cameron House Hotel on Loch Lomond allowed me to use theirs for the duration of my swim. I worked out that to complete my 2.2 miles I would need to smash out 100 lengths of the pool which, over a couple of weeks did not seem to bad when broken down into small bursts. On my first visit to the pool, a woman who was also swimming could obviously sense that I was a bit of a newbie and shared some invaluable tips that helped me complete the challenge in a far greater amount of time that I had expected, so big thanks to her! The main problem I had was with my breathing – I simply wasn’t doing it enough – and that meant by the time I got to the end of a length I was really out of breath.
Averaging 20 lengths each time I visited the pool meant that I managed to complete my segment in just 5 visits, before passing the baton on to the next challenger in our group! I really feel like I achieved something and I’m a lot more confident in the water. To top all of that off, I was obviously using muscles that I normally miss when I’m training at the gym as my arms and core really felt like they had went through a proper blasting during each session. It’s something that I will definitely be trying to keep up.
Well done to my team mates who have already completed their lengths and good luck to those still swimming – Em Talks, Father Fitness, Mutha Fitness, Lucie Loves, How Many Miles, A Mummy Too, Brum Hour and Emmy’s Mummy! The challenge ends on the 4th of December so there are still a few weeks left to complete the distance.
Spinal cord injuries affect someone in the UK every 8 hours and normally come with no warning signs and no time to prepare so the work that Aspire do to support those affected and their families is invaluable. To date, Aspire have supported over 40,000 people in the UK but with your help they can do so much more great work! To learn more about Aspire and to support their work please head over to aspire.org.uk.