Update as of 1 December 2009
Today, I completed the 22 miles, equivalent to the distance across the English Channel. It took me 20 swims over the course of 2 months. On average, each swim lasted a bit over half an hour, not including rest stops and on each visit to the pool I tried to swim at least a mile, usually a bit more. The total time for the swim was 11.5 hours. Over the course of the 2 months, my pace of swim seems to not have increased much -- initially I was swimming at a pace of 3km per hour and by the end this had increased to roughly 3.2km. But the distance I was able to swim without having to rest increased significantly. On my initial swims I was taking a rest at roughly every 500 meters, whereas on my last swim I swam 2km non-stop and at a slightly faster pace. As I increased the distances without a rest, I also started throwing in some other strokes and some laps where I was just kicking. So in reality, I think my pace has increased meaningfully as well.
Overall, I'm quite happy with where I've gotten in 2 months of being back in the pool after so many years. I've definitely gotten some of my lungs back, but still have some ways to go. My goal is to join the Masters team and keep up the structured swimming. I'm told the Masters team swims at a pace of roughly 3-3.5km per 1 hour and 15 minute session, so I think I can manage that.
In the process I've helped this important charity raise some money for a great cause. Thanks again to all of those who have contributed. I'm looking forward to doing this again next year. As ambitious as it sounds, who knows, perhaps all in one go this time... :)
Thanks for taking the time to visit my Aspire Channel Swim JustGiving page.
Through December 6, I will be swimming 22 miles at the local pool here in Swiss Cottage, London. The idea is to replicate (at least the distance of) a swim across the English Channel. I realize this would be a lot cooler (well, colder really) if I were actually swimming across the English Channel, but for now I thought it was a good start to do the same distance in a swimming pool, at my own pace, without an escort boat, and for a good cause. During this time, you will be able to track my progress on this page as I make my way from Dover, UK to Calais, France.
In the process, I also hope to make my family and friends aware of Aspire, a charity focused on people with spinal cord injuries by helping them become more independent. The funds raised through this page will help Aspire continue to provide customized solutions, from mobility devices to specialized housing solutions to much needed training and counseling. Needless to say, any amount you are able to donate will go towards improving the living standards of someone with a spinal cord injury and will be much appreciated.
Thank you very much for all your support and look forward to seeing you at the finish line!
30 September 2009
There are currently 40,000 individuals in the UK with a spinal cord injury. Every day another 4 people are told they may never walk again. The individual affected will lose muscle and sensory control and the vast majority become full time wheelchair users for the rest of their lives.
Aspire is a charity that works with people with spinal cord injury to create opportunity, choice and independence. Aspire's national services and programs include adapted housing for people leaving hospital if houses aren’t yet accessible, specialist computer equipment, independent living officers who provide direct support and advice for people recently injured, and the Human Needs Fund which people can apply to for funding for specialist equipment. Aspire ensures that everyone with a spinal cord injury has the opportunity to live an independent and fulfilled life. Aspire receives no statutory funding, so every penny raised through the Aspire Channel Swim will help Aspire continue its vital work.
Some examples of how funds are used by Aspire:
– £100 will buy the duvet and pillows for one of Aspire's adapted houses
– £350 will buy SmartNav technology for a PC to enable someone with a high level spinal injury to use a computer
– £700 will buy a laptop and an accessible bed table for a child in hospital so they can continue to study and stay connected to friends whilst recovering
– £1,000 will provide a rise and fall hob or sink in one of Aspire's adapted houses
– £2,500 will buy a made to measure light weight wheelchair
To find out more about Aspire, please visit http://www.aspire.org.uk.
Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving – they’ll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they’ll send your money directly to Aspire and make sure Gift Aid is reclaimed on every eligible donation by a UK taxpayer. So it’s the most efficient way to donate – saving time for you and cutting costs for Aspire.