Bigger fish to fry for swimmers

Swimming the channel: Channel swimmers Ray Carthy, Neil Walker and Jason Wright prepare for a sea swim as part of their training. Picture submitted
Swimming the channel: Channel swimmers Ray Carthy, Neil Walker and Jason Wright prepare for a sea swim as part of their training. Picture submitted

THREE friends have been braving the murky waters of Spalding’s Coronation Channel to prepare them for a bigger channel crossing for charity.

Ray Carthy, Jason Wright and Neil Walker, all from Spalding and in their early 40s, decided last summer to take on the challenge of swimming the English Channel and are now in serious training for the event scheduled for July 21 and 22.

They are hoping their efforts will raise at least £2,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support.

Mr Carthy said: “Part of the challenge of swimming the Channel is tackling the cold. Training in a swimming pool is not much use for that and so we swim up and down in the Coronation Channel for a couple of hours whenever the opportunity arises and also swim in the sea to get used to the open water.

“I have done the Channel swim before and it’s just one of those challenges, like climbing Everest, that appealed to me.

“The three of us hatched the plan last summer and we ummed and aahhed about it and finally decided to go ahead and do it.”

The trio will be out on the Channel alone, with just a small boat for company, in the world’s busiest shipping lane – used by up to 600 ships every day.

They will swim in rotation, with one man swimming an hour while the other two rest in the boat. They expect the crossing to take a minimum of 15 hours.

Mr Carthy said: “The thing about swimming the Channel is you never know what is going to happen.

“There is likely to be jellyfish and possibly even basking sharks.

“We are only allowed to swim when the conditions are right, but that could mean the water is like a millpond or there could be waves. We could even do it at night, in the dark.

“Sometimes, if the sea is a little rough being in the boat can actually be worse and you can’t wait to get back in the water.”

Anyone interested in sponsoring the men’s efforts can go to www.justgiving.com/FenlandSwimmers2011, or call Mr Carthy on 07837 048339.