David Kimber – Sardinia Swim
Taking on a challenge is not only about the physical demands of the experience but how mentally tough they can be; our October challenger, David, had no doubt in his mind that he wanted to find a challenge that would require just a little of the fight, determination and bravery that Frankie, who was supported by Shooting Star Chase showed during his treatment.
“Back in 2010, myself and two friends, Mick Helps and Mark Pollard joined two friends to swim the English Channel as a relay for charity. So I knew who I needed to speak to when deciding on the challenge I was to take on in memory of Frankie, a really remarkable boy,” explains David.
After speaking to Frankie’s parents, Lee and Ali and learning more about Shooting Star Chase, David was in total agreement that it was such a worthy charity to raise money for.
“With this is mind, and with the support of Mark and Mick, myself and my two friends found the challenge – to cycle around Sardinia to reach a point where we could swim from Sardinia to Corscia, a stretch of the Mediterranean that links the two islands.”
The Strait of Bonifacio are notorious among sailors for being rough, with tricky weather conditions – so much so, ships carrying hazardous cargo aren’t allowed to travel. Not only this, but David and his friends had to seek special permission from the French and Italian authorities to swim across it.
And before the swimming feat even began, the team had to take on a 205km cycle around Sardinia. “We climbed a total of 3500m through some really beautiful scenic places to reach our meeting point with the support team for the swim challenge,” says David.
“The swim was probably one of the hardest challenges I have ever taken on, with no wet suits and we couldn’t hold onto the boat when we were eating to refuel – which probably explains why not many people have achieved it – we could only find out that 33 people had taken it on before us and could see why!”
Due to the strong currents, David and his friends eventually swam 18km (3km longer than anticipated) – which took a total of 4 hours and 51 minutes, successfully negotiating the currents and the purple jellyfish. “During the swim the shore never seemed to be getting any closer and mentally we had to dig deep, but knowing the reason we were putting ourselves through this and the great cause, there was never a thought of giving up and really gave us the strength to succeed.”
“The exhaustion and pain was quickly forgotten once we reached the sandy beach and heard the airhorn, the signal that we had officially finished and completed the challenge. My comment during the swim ‘that I never want to see the sea again’ was quickly forgotten as we celebrated our achievement!”The team have nearly doubled their initial target of £1000 – currently raising £1955 and counting.