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Channel Relay Swim Challenge for Charity

Published on isbi School News dated Thursday 5th of September 2013

On 26 July, a team of swimmers representing Oundle School took part in an English Channel swim relay (Oundle Channel Swim Dream Team).The team consisted of Deputy Swimming Pool Manager at Oundle School, Ed Tate, pupil Oliver Wood (17), former pupil Oliver Hickson and James Walker, a member of Oundle School Swimming Pool.
Ed Tate has worked at Oundle School Swimming Pool for the past 6 years and has a strong competitive swimming background. Oli Hickson left Oundle School last year after 5 years to continue his education at university. He represented the School in the pool for both swimming and water polo and continues to play water polo for his university. Oli Wood is a current pupil and also has a strong swimming background, next year he will be representing the School as swimming captain. James Walker, has lived in Oundle for the past 6 years and has swam every stretch of the river Nene in and around Oundle, he also took part in all of the major British Gas open water series in 2012 including the Lake Windermere 2 mile race and 1 mile sprint in the same weekend.
The team have been training hard for the last 12 months, with open water swimming including a test swim in Dover back in June, where complete with just trunks, swim hats and Vaseline they swam for 2 hours with the water temperature at 13 degrees, passing the entry test.
Ed commented, 'We completed the challenge to raise money for two charities - Breast Cancer Care and Prostate Cancer UK. It has always been something that we have all wanted to do, but have never had the opportunity so we decided to make it happen! As with many people, cancer has touched our lives at some point. Some outcomes have been better than others. We have suffered losses of friends and family. We have also witnessed achievements in recovery through cancer treatments but without research and donations to fund this research this may not have been possible. In order to continue to improve outcomes for people touched by cancer more research is needed.'
The swimmers started at 10.25am on Friday 26 July and finished in the early hours of Saturday morning, in a time of 15 hours 22 minutes. The swimming order was Ed Tate, Oli Wood, James Walker and Oli Hickson, with the team swimming for an hour each rotating until they reached France! In total they swam just over 30 miles.

Ed commented, 'As first swimmer in the water, I was getting changed as the boat left the harbour for the starting point. I looked around the team and there was an air of nervousness amongst us, but at the same time there was a feeling of excitement as I knew I was only minutes away from starting what we had been planning, training and working towards for the last 18 months."

Oli Hickson, who finished the swim for the team and was the one to touch France, said, "It felt fantastic to finally reach France. It felt great that our task, which we had started over 15 hours previously, was over and we had achieved our goal."

So far the team have raised nearly £1500 for their chosen charities. For more information and if you would like to sponsor the team, donations can be made at

Channel Relay Swim Challenge for Charity - Photo 1
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