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With only one week to go before Autism East Midlands’ Channel Swimmers head out into the English Channel, excitement flows through our Channel Swimming Team who are very close to taking on this mammoth challenge, but just how hard is it to swim the English Channel?

The Channel Swimming Association claim that; “The English Channel is a unique and demanding swim, considered by many to be the ultimate long distance challenge. It isn’t just the distance that is the challenge, but more, the variable conditions that you are likely to encounter. These may vary for mirror like conditions to wind force 6 and wave heights in excess of 2 metres. The water is cold and you are strongly advised to acclimatize to it, there is a good chance of meeting jellyfish, seaweed and the occasional plank of wood. It is one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world with 600 tankers passing through and 200 ferries/seacats and other vessels going across daily.”

Capt. Matthew Webb became the first person to officially swim from England to France in 1875. It was his second attempt (the first was stopped due to rough seas) and it took him 21 hours, 45 minutes. There were then 80 unsuccessful attempts and 36 years before Thomas Burgess became the second person to successfully swim the Channel and did so in 22 hours, 35 minutes, in 1911.

In 1926, nineteen year old American girl, Gertrude Ederle became the first woman to swim the Channel. In total there have been 3,951 channel swims and the current record holder is Trent Grimsey, from Australia, who completed the crossing impossibly in 6 hrs, 55 mins. Autism East Midlands’ Channel Swimming Team are entering an elusive list of people to have taken on this epic challenge.

The motivation and determination to complete this challenge is the Dunsbee Family, who form the foundations of this team. The family not only want to raise a significant sum of money to help Autism East Midlands to continue supporting families affected by autism, but to also share their story to raise further awareness of autism. “To support people with Autism means a lot to me after having our daughter Hayley we found a world that needs as much help as possible.” Tim Dunsbee, who coaches the England Men’s Water Polo Team.

If you wish to support Hayley’s Relay Team as they swim across the English Channel, then please use the link below, or you can simply text HCRT99 with the amount (£10) to 70070.

Click here to meet the Team