Chipping Sodbury man to attempt Channel swim

August 01 2018
Chipping Sodbury man to attempt Channel swim

A 39-year-old father of two is aiming to swim the channel this summer to raise money for charity.

Chris Townsend has battled neck and shoulder injuries during his training but remains determined to achieve his goal. He’s supporting the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Southmead Hospital, St Peter’s Hospice, and Sands UK. 

Chris started out doing triathlons about six years ago but found that he was strongest at swimming.  He was advised to stop running following an ankle injury and decided to focus on open water challenges instead.  He will attempt his Channel swim in the week beginning 5 August.

He said: “I started doing 5km swims but soon moved to longer 10km swims which in swimming terms are akin to marathons.  For the last few years I have swum in some incredible locations like Loch Lomond in Scotland, Ullswater Lake in the Lake District and in various parts of Cornwall.” 

In July he achieved two long distance events; the Salford Quay 10-mile swim, and the Humdinger swim in Reading where you complete as many 1km laps as possible in 6 hours. Chris managed to swim 17km, finishing 14th overall.  

He said: “The challenge with these events is to remind yourself it isn’t a sprint and try to get in a groove where you feel comfortable and can keep going and going. If you get drawn into a race and get out of breath, then you’re going to struggle to maintain that for any length of time.”

It isn’t possible for Chris to swim the full distance of the channel crossing before the big day, but he hopes his determination will keep him going. 

Chris is making sure that he’s in shape for the challenge. He said: “The one aspect I have found easiest in the whole process is to ensure I have a nice layer of fat for the swim. Luckily for me this is something I’ve been working on for the last 39 years and I would say I have never had more insulation. I was surprised to read this advice from people who have swam the channel before but apparently the reason is three-fold; firstly, it keeps you warm, secondly it makes you more buoyant and finally as you burn at least 12,000 calories on the day its helps to have some energy supplies. So, this is the one and only area that I am currently confident my preparations have gone well in.” 

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