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Storage Manager Mark conquers his swimming challenge

Robin Sappe Image By Robin Sappe
Storage Manager Mark conquers his swimming challenge Image

To say that Mark Chegwin has been bitten by the swimming bug is something of an understatement. In the three years since he was first introduced to long distance swimming, he's progressed at such a pace that he decided to take on a truly massive test - swimming solo 15 miles in open water from Jersey to France!

8 hours and 47 minutes

After training for many months (Mark swims about 18km a week),  Mark took to the water on the 21st August, setting off at 2pm from La Coupe Beach in St Martin accompanied by a support boat and his team.

The whole challenge was expected to take around 9 to 10 hours to complete, and with some  unpredictable weather about the swim could have easily been delayed, prolonged or even called off altogether! On the day, however, the conditions could not have been better. Determined and confident,  Mark swam into the afternoon, enjoying flat seas and  plentiful swarms of  jellyfish along the way.

Personal challenges such as these are not just physical gruelling - they can be equally tough on the mind. On passing the three hour mark, Mark found his mental strength was weakening with the majority of the task still ahead:

"I allowed self-doubt to enter my mind as it was my first long distance swim and bigger than anything I had done before. The next hour of swimming I spent worrying about my age, speed, lack of experience, my crew’s thoughts  and, with a small evening breeze chilling my back, I became increasingly anxious."

Mark dug deep and following strong words of support from his experienced team aboard the support boat, his  self confidence grew stronger and the French coastline became ever nearer.

After a fiery sunset, night quickly fell and greeted the solo swimmer with a clear sky full of stars. After a few hours of swimming in the dark,  Mark was guided by a kayaker, lit with light sticks, through the shallows and towards the  sandy beach.

After 8 hours and 47 minutes Mark reached the Normandy shore just a short distance from the town of Surville, and duly celebrated his extraordinary achievement with those who made the journey with him.

Benefiting the British Red Cross

Everyone at Le Gallais is incredibly proud of Mark. Many of his friends, family and colleagues have already donated using the JustGiving page set up for the event. All the money raised will be going to the British Red Cross, who every year help thousands of people in crisis and are currently supporting those in need after the recent floods in South East Asia.

Mark is truly thankful to those who have contributed so far and delighted to have raised over £1,200. We’d be delighted if you’d join us in supporting Mark's incredible endeavour and hope you can give what you can to the cause.


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