Rebecca is ready to Channel her energy for charity challenge

Swim training editorial image
Swim training editorial image

A keen swimmer from Berkhamsted will tackle the English Channel as part of a relay team to raise money for a leading spinal injuries charity.

Rebecca Stern, 32, will take on the feat in September in aid of Aspire – based in Stanmore, the charity empowers and supports individuals suffering from spinal injuries.

Rebecca Stern will tackle the English Channel in September to raise money for a leading spinal injuries charity

Rebecca Stern will tackle the English Channel in September to raise money for a leading spinal injuries charity

And, while looking forward to the challenge, Rebecca knows that she is in for a tough test.

“The English Channel is considered the Everest of the ocean,” she said. “It is a 22-mile stretch across the busiest shipping lanes in the world which can consist of 600 commercial ships and up to 100 ferry crossings.

“We will have to swim without a wetsuit in water temperatures of around 15 degrees – swimming during the day and night in varying sea conditions.”

To prepare for the event Rebecca is training three to four times per week and getting 10km to 15km under her belt during these sessions.

“It’s a huge commitment around working full-time and spending quality time with my family,” said Rebecca.

“The main challenge of the Channel is the conditions. Facing the freezing cold and building the mental strength to brave the conditions and literally being a drop in the ocean.

“Its not about the distance – with time you can train to build the stamina to swim such lengths and many people succeed this in a pool environment.

“The real challenge is the cold and the turbulent sea conditions. The tide can change every six hours and even the fittest of swimmers can suffer cramp and mental fatigue.”

There are also several rules to stick to in order for it to be documented as an official channel swim.

Once in the water, swimmers cannot touch the support boat, each swimmer has to be in the water for a minimum amount of time, and there are strictly no wetsuits allowed.

“Imagine running a freezing cold bath and laying in it over a long period of time,” said Rebecca. “Then add a whole ocean where you aren’t too sure what lies beneath and then add the fact that you potentially might be swimming in the dark, now keep swimming until you get to France!

“Not for the faint hearted I’m sure you will agree.

“I have always been a keen swimmer but this is by far my biggest challenge yet. I am proud to be doing this for such a worthwhile charity.”

If you would like to support Rebecca in her fundraising efforts for Aspire, please visit