Less than two years ago Ross Garnett was just learning to swim yet within the next week he will be taking on one of the toughest swimming challenges there is as he bids to swim the English Channel as part of a three-man relay team.
Those two years have been pretty transformative for the director of Dynamic Scaffolding he’s not just challenged himself in the water he’s challenged himself on the land too and is now an accomplished triathlete who recently completed an Ironman competition consisting of a swim of almost 4km a 112 mile bike ride and then, if that wasn’t enough, he had to run a marathon. Preparation for such a massive physical challenge saw Ross spend up to 40 hours a week training.
Ross didn’t set out with an ambition to swim the channel or to become an ‘Ironman’, all he wanted to do was get a bit fitter. He says he’d made a conscious decision to cut back on drinking and clubbing at weekends, he already went to the gym but his workouts were mainly weights based and he wanted to do something to improve his cardio.
A friend of his, Tammie Cook, had recently taken up jogging and suggested Ross join her on her runs – he did. From there they joined Hastings Athletic Club run by Terry Skelton they developed their running skills and dipped their toe in the world of competitive running.
Building on that they decided to take swimming lessons and while doing those lessons they heard that Paul Harris was planning to start a triathlon club; Ross and Tammie became the first two members of the club and from there he has never looked back.
Of next week’s challenge he says: “Joseph O’Gorman and Paul Harris and I will be taking on the swim from Dover to France. We’ll face big waves, shipping containers and jellyfish. This is when we find out if all the dawn alarms, long miles swum in the freezing sea and many hours of practice in the pools and lakes have been enough.”
The team is completing the challenge in aid of Charity For Kids, a well known local charity, and Ross says: “Raising funds for these kids will help with the jellyfish stings, freezing cold, sea sickness and exhaustion we will be putting ourselves through!”
Ross has seen first hand just how tough a cross channel swim can be, he has been a member of the team in the support boat when Paul previously swum the channel.
The rules are strict and define what you can wear, how the start is controlled and how the changeovers are handled.
“The swimmer getting in has to get in behind the swimmer coming out, the adjuducators want to ensure that you’ve sum every single metre of the channel,” Ross said.
They swim in hour-long stints and he expects the swim to take between 12 and 15 hours. They are aiming for Calais but its possible that winds and current could blow them off their ideal course and add miles and time to the swim.
The English Channel is renowned as the busiest shipping lane in the world and it’s not just the ships themselves that Ross and his mates will have to dodge is’ the muck and the debris from those ships that will make a chunk of the swim right in the middle of the channel a particularly unpleasant experience.
Preparation is everything and Ross has not missed a chance to get in the water. Last week he ran from Hastings to Bexhill and then just for the fun of it got in the water and swam back.
He says that when he decided he wanted to get himself fitter and he never dreamed he’d be doing what he does now and explains that the fitness and exercise bug has gripped him and if more than a couple of days goes by when he hasn’t completed some kind of training then he gets fidgety.
In among all of this he has also completed a charity bike ride to Paris and back and he’s already looking ahead to events coming up in the future that he can sign up and challenge himself with.Ross doesn’t actually know when the swim will starts. He knows that it will be sometime between August 3rd and 8th, when conditions are right and the previous crossing has been completed Ross, Paul and Joseph will get a call to tell them to get to Dover and the challenge will have begun…
We wish them all the very best of luck on the day.
If you want to sponsor Ross and in the process raise money for the Charity for Kids then just click on this link…