Andrew, regional development manager with Funeral Planning Services, partook in the 1,500 metre swim at Alton Water Reservoir near Ipswich in aid of Brain Tumour UK – a charity close to Andrew’s heart since losing his father to a brain tumour eight years ago.
Much to Andrew’s chagrin, the event was delayed by 24 hours because of high winds: “I was not sure the extra wait would do much for my nerves,” he remarked.
Andrew continued: “I got changed into my wetsuit, and strangely became much calmer. I had been very nervous about this challenge; especially having never swum outdoors or in a wetsuit before. Now though, I was changed, prepared and ready – albeit looking like a podgy seal with a sunburnt head!”
Upon approaching the 400 metre mark, Andrew began to doubt whether he could complete the swim: “I was gasping for air and hadn’t even got to the 400 metre mark,” he said.
“I looked to see the 400 metre buoy approaching [and started] to think I wouldn’t be able to finish the course. I was now looking up trying to spot the safety kayaks rather than concentrate on the course. I was almost relieved to see another chap make a grab for one of the boats; and felt strangely reassured that I wasn’t the only one finding this tough going.”
Spurred on, Andrew fought through the progression-hindering winds to get into a steady rhythm and finish the course in 41 minutes and 7 seconds: “It had felt about twice as long as that. To say I was surprised is an understatement.”
Despite describing the experience as an “ordeal”, Andrew is planning to take part in a Triathlon later in the year.
Altogether he raised over £400 for Brain Tumour UK, a tally that can be added to via his Justgiving page: www.justgiving.com/Andrew-BrainTumourUK
Image: Andrew’s son congratulates him upon completing his swim