NICK Martin, of Portsea, is no stranger to open water swimming and will take it to the next level when he attempts the gruelling English Channel crossing on 1 August.
Martin, a life member of Portsea Surf life Saving Club, a regular swimmer at Portsea front beach, is increasing his training regime in the weeks leading up to the swim to around 50 kilometres a week with a mix of open water and pool swimming.
The Dover (England) to Calais (France) channel swim is 34 kilometres, but Martin knows that the tides and the weather can extend both the distance and the difficulty of the swim.
He said the idea for the challenge arose out of lockdown when he was swimming with some mates who were egging each other on about swimming further.
“That’s where the idea came from, but I wanted to complete a challenge that had a purpose, that helped the community,” he said.
Martin is using the swim to raise money for a capital project at the Portsea Camp, which he said was a well deserving charity that had supported hundreds of children over its 70 years of operation.
“I swim past the Portsea Camp often and I think it does great things for sick children, but without a lot of fanfare, so I think it is a very worthy charity that I’m happy to help.”
While he knows it will be a tough swim and not everyone completes the crossing, Martin says he refuses to let doubts get the better of him.
“There can be no doubts, I’m going and I’m going to finish,” he said.
“I’m not stopping halfway, I’m going the whole hog.”
With Europe facing a heat wave at the moment, Martin says he expects the water to be a “comfortable” 16 degrees.
“The rules around the swim are quite strict. There are no wetsuits allowed and you can only wear speedos, which means you have to apply a greasy mix of lanolin and Vaseline to your body,” he said.
“Once in the water I’ll feed every 30 minutes from the pilot boat that will accompany me, just to make sure I’m getting enough sugar, nutrition and hydration.”
As tough as it sounds, last week before he flew out to England Martin said he was looking forward to it “even though it’s taken some time to get my head around it”.
Martin has started a GoFundMe campaign and is more than halfway to his $100,000 target.
The Portsea Camp runs camps for rurally isolated, disadvantaged and special needs children who need a break. The Portsea Camp runs four-night camps in the school holidays for 8 – 12 year olds, and one for 13 – 16 year olds in September.
To support the swim and donate to the Portsea Camp go to gofund.me/72001496