Watch our new 2016 Aspire Channel Swim video!
We are delighted to present our brand new video for the Aspire Channel Swim, filmed over three days at five different locations, from both indoor and outdoor pools to the Royal Victoria Docks and Dover harbour.
The swimmers range in age from 9 to 62 and each one has previously taken part in a swimming challenge for Aspire, either the Aspire Channel Swim or an open water swim such as the Solent or Relay Channel Swim.
The Aspire Channel Swim is open to anyone of any age, so have a read of their stories and, if they inspire you, please sign up for this year’s Swim and challenge yourself to swim 22 miles over 12 weeks and help us raise money to support people living with Spinal Cord Injury.
Opening up the footage is 12 year old Alex, a performing arts pupil and the Aspire Channel Swim’s top fundraiser ever! She raised £8,652 in the 2015 swim, completing the 22 miles in her local Tring Sportspace pool over 11 weeks, getting up to start swimming at 6am in the morning before school.
“She’s always been a really strong swimmer,” says her dad Martin, who revealed that Alex is a complete natural in water, after picking up swimming from when she was just two years old.
We filmed Alex at the Aspire Leisure Centre and got her doing everything from dives to fun jumps, to strapping a GoPro on her head, and tracking her as she did length after length… good job she’s a pro and has had a lot of practice!
We took Ali to the Parliament Hill Lido in Hampstead Heath to get some great underwater swimming and diving shots. Ali is one glamorous grandma (yes she does not look old enough!) with four children and three grandchildren.
When she was younger, she only learnt to swim the front crawl, but now she loves going to the pool. Having mastered breaststroke and backstroke, her list of swimming challenges includes the three mile Solent Swim as well as several 10K swimming races and she also attends training for the actual English Channel swim relay team.
Lisa is a very seasoned swimmer who started supporting Aspire in 2013. She owns 23 swimming costumes!
Her first big event was being part of a six-person Channel Swim relay team, and she loved the experience so much she decided to swim the entire 22 mile sea crossing in one go – solo - in 2015. Despite a painful shoulder injury half way through, Lisa still finished the epic crossing in 17 hours 19 minutes, and this achievement was only five years after she took up swimming!
We asked Lisa to swim in the Hampstead Heath Mixed Pond, and by the end of our time there, she’d impressed the life guards with lots of stories of her feats… swimming the length of Lake Windermere, crossing the English Channel in a two way relay team, and covering the Straights of Gibraltar between Spain and Morocco. This is clearly a woman with no fear of jelly fish!
You wouldn’t ever know it, but Andrew never learnt to swim properly so only started having lessons at the age of 62! He participated in the Aspire Channel Swim for the first time in 2015 and completed it in just four weeks, racking up 10km each week, averaging 100 lengths each time he visited his local pool. He’s signed up for the 2016 challenge and this time is aiming for a three week finish!
We met Andrew at the Royal Victoria Docks and sent him swimming in the cold water, surrounded by flats and cafes and the overhead cable cars. It was a very impressive location.
Every year we train up swimmers to take part in relay swims across the Channel. We went to Dover to give our brave participants tips for swimming in the sea.
Another late starter to the swimming game is Paul, Aspire’s Director of Fundraising and Marketing. Despite not learning as a child, this hasn’t at all stopped him from accomplishing some amazing swims.
Paul’s list of fundraising activities grows larger all the time, from completing the English Channel four times, to crossing from the East Coast of Ireland to Scotland, to the Solent Swim (South Coast to the Isle of Wight).
He’s also been just one of a few people who’ve successfully competed in the Arch to Arc challenge. Paul was just the 20th person in history to run from Marble Arch to Dover (87 miles, the distance of three marathons), followed by swimming the channel in 17.5 hours (tracked by boat), and then cycling to Paris (over 180 miles). This is one hard-core triathlon, and not surprisingly, he raised 24k!
You’d think he’d be tired out from that, but Paul has just announced he’s going to swim the North Channel in a relay team. 22 miles in very cold water (no wetsuits allowed) and hopefully he won’t be stung by too many Lion’s Man jelly fish en route!
Paul says, “I used to be very unfit in my old office job, but you'd be amazed at what you can achieve if you put your mind to it!”
Nine year old Aimee is an avid swimmer. “She’s a daredevil and fearless,” says her mum. “We saw the Aspire Channel Swim advertised at our local pool, and when she found out that swimming would help other people she signed up without a thought.”
Aimee completed the challenge, going to her swimming pool after school four times a week, as well as on Sundays when her club, Sittingbourne and Milton, let her have the end lane for two hours to herself. But she wasn’t entirely alone, as her dad would walk the length of the pool talking to her whilst she swam.
“She got £20 from her grandparents as a congratulations,” her mum adds, “but she just put it straight into the fundraising total.”
We filmed Aimee at the Aspire Leisure Centre and got her swimming all different strokes up and down the pool, as well as some fun underwater shots.
What’s your story? Sign up for the Aspire Channel Swim 2016 today and help us raise money to support people living with Spinal Cord Injury.
Here’s a final photo of some of the shoot team! Dan, the videographer, Lisa, Paul and Ali, and our favourite one from the filming – we love how the camera has captured the legs sticking out of the water mid-dive!