THE shortest distance between England and France across the Channel is about 32kilometres.
Next month I will attempt to swim across those open waters to raise money for The Children’s Hospital at Westmead.
We will allow a few days’ leeway to get favourable weather conditions. Bad days can see strong winds and wave heights exceeding 2metres.
Before choosing this quest, I was definitely no distance swimmer. Although I had a swimming background from my high school days, the longest open-water swim I had completed was sixkilometres.
Now, after more than two years preparing with Mounties Swimming Club, I have worked up to the 32kilometres in tests, which included a swim from Bundeena to Bondi.
The distance isn’t the only challenge. There are tidal conditions that can find you swimming and going nowhere, and also hypothermia, jellyfish, floating trash, boat fumes and vessels in one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes.
To comply with Channel Swimming Association rules, I will only be allowed to wear grease, swimmers, a hat and goggles. There’ll be no touching the boat or another person and food will be handed to me on a pole.
Also on the boat will be my coach, Olympian Daniel Esposito, and support swimmer Ryan Ainley.
Raising funds is a huge family and team effort. This week I’m paying tribute to my own big-hearted Assyrian/Chaldean/Syriac community who have run fantastic functions for hundreds of people and raised many dollars for sick kids.
If you’d like to show your support, The Children’s Hospital at Westmead will benefit directly.