Team Pavelka swims for HOOP

Channel Swim Challenge!

By Gemma Love

Have you ever had a dream?  A dream to take on a crazy challenge, but then forgotten about until you have that light bulb moment?  Well, the amazing team that are swimming the channel this month had just that moment!  I have spoken to Beth Clegg to get her view on the fabulous team work involved.

When Beth took part in the Sky Living documentary Fat: The Fight of My Life, the trainers discovered her love for swimming (up until the age of 11 Beth Swam competitively) and her challenge was to swim 11km along the River Arun and at the end of each programme it says what each person is doing now. Much to Beth’s surprise at the end of the credits of her programme it said “Beth is now planning to swim the Channel”

She got a call from Mike one of the support swimmers suggesting she did the swim as part of a relay and you could join a team, but Beth had other ideas!  She wanted to do this with friends.  First phone call was to Sarah Le Brocq, who also took part in the show and Beth told her what she was thinking, Sarah was in!  Sarah suggested pitching the idea to HOOP so she contacted HOOP Director Jill Tipping. Jill (pictured above) thought it was a fabulous idea but had one condition – only if she could join in – especially as she lives just 7 miles from Dover Harbour!  So the team became three!  Beth asked her sister as she has always been so supportive she was in two minds for a week but then decided to go for it so she could train with Beth.  Sarah asked her friend Fiona and then Mike made it 6! Amazing how mighty oaks come from small acorns. Recently the team have been joined by veteran channel relay swimmer Trisha King who is Team Mum! She’ll be looking after the team as they take on the challenge. Trisha regularly trains with Jill in the sea and completed the challenge when she was just 16.

So training commenced September 2013!

They each do around 3 sessions in the pool every week plus open water swimming to become accustomed to the temperature!  It’s VERY COLD!

They have all had to pass a medical and a 2 hour qualifying swim, which is now complete!

The relay will work by each member of the team swimming an hour at a time, climbing back on the boat and they will keep going until they get there.  It’s really tough conditions swimming against the current at times, so they really have their work cut out.

As the swim gets closer emotions are high!  The team have a really strong bond and support each other every day on the countdown.  Always on the end of the HOOPline!

They have run through everything from putting on their swimming costumes on board, climbing up rope ladders and even checking out the onboard convenience!

I asked Beth if she has learnt anything about herself by taking on this challenge and she says she has learnt she is bossy?  Never Beth!  Passionate……..

So if you’re sitting reading this article thinking I want to do something like this here’s Beth’s advice:

“I used to think I wasn’t capable of doing anything.  But now my head believes I can!  Just do it!”

The team are targeted to raise £6,000 between them and have run two amazing music nights already.  If you want to help these guys reach thier target and help future HOOP UK projects please sponsor the team by going to:

Good Luck team!  You have HOOP UK behind you all the way!