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Bude Sea Pool 2017 Charity Channel Challenge

Massive well done and congratulations to all who took part in the 2017 Charity Channel Swim Challenge on Saturday 30 September.

It was a cold grey day and the water temperature for our brave swimmers was only 12 degrees.

This event is one of the biggest fund raisers of the year for Bude Sea Pool. Teams of experienced swimmers of all ages took the plunge into Bude Sea Pool from 7am on Saturday, swimming their chosen distance – a mile or more – in relays.

Their aim was to complete 22 miles in the water to match the width of the English Channel, raising funds for Bude Sea Pool with every stroke. Each team swam 440 lengths of the pool. Teams could have as many swimmers as they liked providing they swam the full 22 miles so a team could have anything from two to 22 swimmers.

Participants were not just local teams – swimmers travelled from around the country, Wales, Cambridge, Dorset to name a few. Many swimmers were using this event as part of their training for the real thing – an English Channel Swim next year! Talking to these swimmers on the day they were all complementary and envious and wished for similar facilities nearer to home. We really are lucky to have Bude Sea Pool.

One swimmer Marc Newman from Poole Dorset an experienced Open Water Swimmer had actually completed 6 Channel Swims.

Marc started swimming for Poole Swimming Club at the age of 8 and competed as an age grouper successfully up to regional level.

In 1985 at the age of 17 Marc swam the English Channel for the first time.

Having notched up 5 Channel Crossings, 2 World Cup wins Marc retired from competitive open water swimming in 1993 aged 25 due to other commitments.

In 2013 – thirty years later – Marc finally dipped his toe back in the sea and re-discovered his love of open water swimming and in 2014 Marc was part of a team of 4 who completed a two-way English Channel swim.

In August 2016 Marc, who set off on his biggest Channel Challenge from Dungeness in Kent. This route is nearly 20 per cent longer than the traditional route and had never been completed.

The forecast force 1 to 2 winds had soon escalated into force 4, making the sea choppy and hampering Marc’s predicted swimming speed. However, the veteran of five successful Channel swims, dug deep and eventually made landfall near Boulogne in France.

Although the route is 26 miles Marc’s swim track covered a distance of 48 miles.

And what does Marc think of Bude Sea Pool ‘Fantastic Facility’

These events of course don’t just happen and massive thanks go to all the supporters, people who made cakes and provided welcome hot drinks and refreshments for the swimmers. Thanks to Bude Cricket Club for lending their pavilion for hot showers and of course to Mel Bardsley and Rachel Ellis for organising such a terrific event.