A father-of-one is preparing to dodge hyperthermia, sea sickness and jellyfish stings wearing just trunks, a hat and some goggles in a 22-mile charity swim across the English Channel.
Colin Cowles, 48, is due to take on the watery relay challenge on September 1 in aid of charity Aspire, which helps those living with spinal injuries in the UK regain their independence. The charity has recently completed house fit-outs in both Aylesbury and Stone to enable injured people lead easier lives.
Colin, of Fairford Leys, Aylesbury, said: “I’ve lived in Aylesbury all my life, and I saw that Aspire had launched their own relay swim charity challenge so with all the open swimming I’ve been doing I thought that would be a good idea to do one myself.”
The senior project manager recently went for a dip off the coast of Dover for a continuous two-hour acclimatisation swim in order for the doctor to sign him off as fit enough to get across the channel.
Colin will be joined by another man and four ladies who together aim to raise £12,000 in sponsorship for the charity, but he has already raised £1,800 by himself.
It is easy to imagine Colin as a life-long lover of swimming, but up until a year ago he only swam breast stroke for leisure. Fast forward to today and he already has a Europe to Asia open swim under his belt plus numerous practice sessions on the south coast and Guilford Lido. It is expected his latest challenge will take between 16 and 18 hours to complete.
Colin, who lives with his wife Kaaj and their six-year-old son Chale, dispelled the myth about open water swimmers rubbing themselves with goose fat, saying: “It does hold in a bit of warmth, but now they cover you in a Vaseline-like substance to stop the chafing.
“When you’re doing front crawl and your arm is slapping against the water more than a thousand times, it can leave you a bit sore and bleeding.”