Cathy is swimming to lose weight

I had been swimming a mile each day at the leisure centre and talking to the swimming teacher, who spoke about swimming the actual Channel. I asked about how it would be to swim the Channel in the pool and was directed to the Aspire Channel Swim website and decided I wanted to challenge myself to do it.

Cathy 4

Since the pool re-opened in April, I have been swimming five times a week and have built up the number of lengths gradually; starting with 30 minutes, then 32 lengths, then 40 and then 55 minute swims. One mile would generally take me 90 minutes so I booked more than one session so I could achieve this. I wasn't originally looking to raise money, as I had already raised money in July by swimming 10 miles for Breast Cancer and I also walked the 5km Race for Life. Both my parents died from cancer and I wanted to challenge myself to raise money rather than just donate it.

I have always loved swimming and still find it the best exercise. After mum died from cancer in October 2020, I became a complete couch potato and have never been very active. However, I had adverse reactions to my COVID-19 jabs and this led to being checked out at the doctor's which jolted me into doing something about my level of fitness. I am very overweight and have been for a long time. I had made mum a promise that I would do something about my weight as she had diabetes along with other health issues. I have a brother and he was naturally concerned about my health as our family is not a big one.

So I started the Aspire Channel Swim on 21st October and completed the 22 miles in 21 swims. Three times I swam 100 lengths without stopping, which took 2 and a half hours.

I even surprised myself with my stamina. I swim breaststroke and I'm not a quick swimmer. I don't find swimming difficult which is why I liked that this challenge made me swim many miles. I still need to lose a lot of weight, but this has made an excellent start. I was not able to go swimming during the lockdowns and I found that hard, but I do other exercise as well.

I go to the gym three times a week, taking part in three aqua classes and I also go line dancing twice a week. I try to walk 5,000-7,000 steps each day.

I am swimming at Dereham Leisure Centre, who have been very supportive and are going to post about my swimming on their Facebook page in the New Year. I am already having swimming lessons to learn how to do front crawl so that I can do a similar challenge next year once I have perfected the technique. I have raised £100 which I am pleased with, especially as it was the third fundraising event I had done in the last six months. I don't know anyone who has had a spinal cord injury but I know that the money raised will help someone to deal with life-changing injuries.

My friends and family have been incredibly proud and supportive. I also know that my parents are looking down on me and are also proud. Getting up early to go to the leisure centre during the week has helped me adjust to retiring from work and dealing with living without my parents.

I am not a morning person so this has been the biggest surprise. I am already looking for new challenges to swim next year and am considering buying a bike to cycle to the centre when the weather is better.

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