Athlone Regional Sports Centre’s (RSC ) ‘Swim for Life’ Team recently launched this year’s Swim Challenge, which offers participants the chance to traverse the Channel in the comfort of the Athlone RSC 25m pool. The challenge takes place across 10 weeks between November and January.
The 32km stretch between Dover and Calais has only actually ever been completed by 1,400 solo swimmers. While many more have swum equivalent distance in other locales, this challenge is the first to offer Athlone and Westmeath swimmers the chance to scale the Everest of swimming.
The more intrepid can even sign up for the return trip – a substantial 64km. What is more, Athlone RSC’s experienced swim team includes David Warby who has coached many long-distance swimmers. As recently as August this year, Clodagh Murray, under the guidance of David, completed her record-breaking swim in the cold waters of the English Channel.
Commenting on the challenge, Athlone RSC swim co-ordinator, Charlie Naughton, said this was a unique opportunity for lane swimmers to push themselves and stay motivated for a good cause. “With the support of our Swim for Life Team and our ‘Lane Coach’ sessions, anyone who can swim up to 30 lengths in one session should complete this challenge comfortably within the 10 weeks.”
At the end of the first week, with 150 swimmers signed up and more than 28,800 lengths accumulated, it appears that this fundraising initiative is well underway. Athlone RSC has nominated Pieta House as charity partner for this event, and will join Channel Challenge swimmers in donating to the charity.
Pieta House provides free therapeutic help to people who find themselves in suicidal distress. It relies on public donations for up to 90 per cent of its funding. With swimmers already flocking to the centre in their droves, it seems Athlone is well up to this challenge and is ready to ‘dive in’.