Gay team to swim English Channel for charity

Out To Swim members will swim from Dover to Calais to raise money for Central London Samaritans

Gay team to swim English Channel for charity
24 June 2012

A gay and lesbian relay team will be swimming the 21 miles of the English Channel for charity this week.

Six members of British club Out To Swim will plunge into the 14 degree waters off the coast of England, swimming one by one for an hour at a time, before reaching Calais in France.

They will be doing this task in the aim of raising money for the Central London Samaritans, a charity that provides confidential emotional support for anyone experiencing feelings of distress or despair, which can lead to suicide.

All experienced swimmers, the six gay men and women have trained for months to be able to withstand the ice cold temperatures and marathon distance.

Gareth Johnson, president of the swimming club, told Gay Star News it is the biggest and toughest challenge any of them have had to date.

He said: ‘The team will be swimming through the night which is often the hardest bit, swimming through pitch black water with only a torch or a boat next to them.

‘So, it’s quite an enormous mental challenge as it is a physical challenge.’

The team has been given a window from Monday to Friday to complete the swim, and with weather on their side it should be Thursday (28 June). They will be given 24 hours’ notice before they know the day.

Replicating the conditions of the water has been the hardest bit of training, with the team taking day trips to Dover or Brighton to build up endurance.

Johnson said: ‘There are a quite a few aspects to this swim which makes it one of the toughest there is.

‘It’s the cold water, it’s the distance, it’s the mental challenge, it’s swimming at night in the dark, and it will be a real sense of achievement once it’s done.’

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