Rob swims to help his anxiety and insomnia

I found out about the Aspire Channel Swim from my wife Laura who saw an advert for it online and suggested it would be a good thing for me to do. I thought it would be a good opportunity to raise some money for a great cause and would also give me a focus and plan to my swimming.

I used to swim almost every day when I was younger, swimming as a junior for my region in Essex in competitions and the like, but education and other commitments took me away from it. About 15 years later I started swimming again when a nice new pool opened up near me where I lived in London, and I’ve been carrying that on and off since I moved to Manchester six years ago.

Swimming makes me feel good both physically and mentally and is one of the few activities I do that I feel truly relaxed and happy doing

The main reasons I swim is for health and wellbeing and losing a bit of weight has been a big help as well. A couple of years ago I started suffering panic attacks at work and this led to a tough few months with anxiety and insomnia. I couldn’t work for about three months and it signalled a big change in the lifestyle I was leading. Swimming regularly was a massive help in getting me feeling better in all aspects of my life.


I’d say the only challenge I have currently is making sure I can do it regularly and not let other things take over. I work as a freelance filmmaker and work can either be massively busy and intense or quiet so making sure I keep my routine going can be tough during the busy periods.

The pandemic stopped me from being able to swim for months, which was very hard. As soon as pools reopened and it was safe to attend, I was back two or three times a week. The pool was a lot quieter at the time which was a bonus!

So far I’ve been really enjoying the swim. It’s pushing me to increase bit by bit the number of laps I’ve been doing. I’d just started the challenge when work took me away for a couple of weeks so I’m now trying to catch up on those missed days.

My fundraising has been going really well. People have been so generous with their donations, and I think maybe because of how tough the past couple of years have been for everyone, they just wanted to help in some way. My fundraising tip would be to just ask everyone you can and don’t be pushy. From my experience people seem very open at this moment to be helping others.

It means a lot to me to be raising money to support people with spinal cord injuries. I think at this moment in time just trying your best to even make a small difference can be so beneficial for people.

I suffered a back injury when I was a teenager in a judo class and although I recovered, I’ve suffered from back issues ever since. This is of course nothing compared to some of the injuries other people have to live with every day, but it could have been very serious, and I’ve had so much respect ever since for people who continue to live their lives and organisations like Aspire who provide help and support.
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