Aspire Channel Swim 2017 – How we took part

by Dave Massey

“Every eight hours someone is paralysed by a spinal cord injury.” Aspire

Aspire Channel Swim 2017 – How we took part

Earlier in 2017, BrumHour theatre blogger Julie Wallis and I were invited to take part in a swimming relay which would virtually cover the English Channel by Aspire Channel Swim, raising awareness and supporting sharing about people with spinal cord injuries.

I found the task a little daunting until I realised that we could split it into 4 sessions each covering 20 lengths. Our distance was 2.4 miles meaning we had 1.2 miles each to complete.

Julie Wallis and Dave Massey prepare for swimming
Julie Wallis and Dave Massey prepare for swimming

We found The Sir Doug Ellis Woodcock Sports Centre at Aston University was the ideal pool for us to visit in Birmingham as it is central and offers public swimming most days each week. Knowing that we would be supporting and sharing about those with spinal cord injuries made me feel very lucky to be able to undertake such a task in the first place. I’d not been swimming properly in years apart from a few times for holidays where they have an onsite pool.

The Sir Doug Ellis Woodcock Sports Centre
The Pool at the Sir Doug Ellis Woodcock Sports Centre

The pool is in a beautiful Victorian building with pool side changing rooms and a refurbished roof. 25 metres is a nice distance really but after the first session we realised we might need to do some stretching before starting the next time.

Our following visits were much more successful as we took our time complete our lengths. By the third visit I was starting to ache a lot less and I guess my body was becoming used to the effort involved.

Into our later sessions and turning up at the swimming pool was becoming a regular pattern, knowing where to go, what times would be busy and when would be quiet. People swim for lots of reasons and we felt proud of ourselves that we were working towards this goal.

Finally we achieved our target lengths and I was very pleased.

Find out more about Aspire Swimming Challenge here:

This isn’t a sponsored post, however the cost of travel and entry to the pool were covered by the challenge.