STA’s open water swimming expert has helped to raise more than £12,500 for Diabetes UK after successfully taking part in an English Channel relay.
Sixty-year-old Garry Seghers, who is Qualifications Development Manager at STA, was the oldest member of the six-strong Team Tidetastic.
Each member of Team Tidetastic undertook two one-hour swims in the English Channel, setting off from Dover towards Cap Gris Nez in France.
Setting off at 6:53am on September 8th from Shakespeare Beach, near Dover, the team swam just over 36 miles in under 15 hours.
“The conditions were absolutely perfect for the swim, with waters at 18°C,” explained Garry, who was not allowed to wear a protective wetsuit for the challenge.
“It was very surreal to watch the sunset over England in the West and being able to see the moon rising over France in the East while sitting on a small boat cheering your fellow swimmers but it was hugely enjoyable and occasionally emotional.
“We had a year’s worth of training, getting used to cold water, night swimming, and endured a two-hour qualifier in Dover Harbour, and tested seasickness tablets, wristbands and ginger sweets – thankfully, we didn’t need them.
“It’s certainly the most difficult open water swim I have completed but without a doubt it is my greatest achievement and I’m so proud that we have raised such a lot of money for a great charity.”
Garry, who decided to do the challenge to mark his 60th birthday in April, undertook his first open water swimming event in Barbados in 1991.
Since Barbados, he has completed a number of open water challenges, including the Great North Swim in Windermere; VO2 Sea Swim in Bournemouth; ChillSwim’s the length of Coniston Water; 10k swim at Eton Dorney rowing centre; and a 5k ‘Swim the Island’ sea swim in Spotorno Italy.
“I love open water swimming – there is such a tremendous feeling of freedom with this type of swimming that you don’t get when doing laps in a swimming baths,” he said.
The boat, Galivant, was piloted by the Channel Swimming and Piloting Federation (CS&PF), a governing body for English Channel swimming that is officially recognised by both the British and French authorities.