Brighton sea swimmer attempts coldest and earliest channel crossing ever

Posted On 19 May 2015 at 10:38 am

A Brighton sea swimmer is hoping to attempt the coldest and earliest channel swim to raise money for the Amaze charity for disabled children.

Simon Cooke

Simon Cooke

Simon Cooke started sea swimming almost as soon as he moved to Brighton ten years ago, with an idea in the back of his head that one day he would attempt the crossing to France.

Now, he’s put his money where his mouth is and after seeing what Brighton-based Amaze has done for his friend Pippa and her son Leo, has decided to try and raise money for them at the same time.

He’s now training hard and keeping his fingers crossed for an ideal day before May 29, the current record for the earliest crossing.

He said: “I’m putting on weight and trying to turn myself into a sea going mammal. But if it’s too cold, on a physiological level you will just get hypothermia.

“Head swimming coach Fiona Southwell came up with the idea to swim the earliest crossing. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but now it doesn’t, it seems like a really ridiculous idea.

“We’ve already had to delay it by a week, and I’m now on standby for a good day from 25 May to 28 May.

“The record for the earliest crossing is 29 May, which is the only time someone has done it earlier than June, so it’s a really narrow window. I will still do it but whether it’s the earliest depends on the weather.

The French want to ban it completely as it’s unregulated. You can’t swim from France any more.

We need under 10 knots wind, beautiful calm, hot, sunny day, as your back’s like a big solar panel so sun makes a big difference.”

Pippa and Leo

Pippa and Leo

Simon hopes to raise £20,000 for Amaze and members of the public can donate £5 by texting SCWR55 £5 to 70070 or sponsor him online here.

He said: “My friend Pippa and her son Leo have received support from Amaze. There’s various things that they do and that’s how I knew about it because I could see what a great charity it is.

“They really do make a difference.”

Rachel Travers Amaze CEO said “We are reliant on members of the public to help us raise funds but I think Simon’s channel crossing attempt has got to be the most exciting and challenging way yet, and we are very grateful to him.

“If he raises £10,000 it would help us open our helpline service for an extra day each week. Families with children with special educational needs or disabilities face multiple challenges and as public services face further cuts all our services are under increasing pressure.”

For more information about the work Amaze does, visit its website here.

  1. Pippa Hodge Reply

    Good luck, Simon! We’ve got everything crossed for the right weather and sea conditions. We know you can do it!

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