Rafferty takes on Channel swim

by Gazette Reporter
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WHATEVER the weather may be for the next few couple of weeks, July is set to be a wet and wild month for one Clondalkin man as he prepares to swim the English Channel.

Niall Rafferty, from Moyle Crescent, is set to embark on the challenge around July 22 and swim from Dover to northern France.

With the swim just two weeks away, Rafferty revealed to GazetteSport what will actually happen once he flies to Dover on July 21.

“Well, at the moment, I’m due to start the challenge on July 22,” he said. “But, basically I’ve a three-day window from there to begin, and it all really depends on the weather, the tide, wind, and forecast, all of those things.

“It’ll come down to the pilot to decide when’s the safest time to go and when he says go I have to be ready.”

Training for the challenge has been intense, and included a recent trip to Lanzarote where he earned the official right to embark on the Channel swim.

“The Channel Swimming Association, who is the official organisation who oversee any of these swims, require solo swimmers to swim non-stop for six hours to receive the accreditation needed to do the swim,” he said.

“I’d planned on doing it in Ireland in June, but the water needs to be at a certain temperature and nowhere in Dublin or Ireland was warm enough so off we went to Lanzarote.”

As well as that, Rafferty provides two to three hours of swimming lessons each morning at Energie, Park West, before his own two hours of training, meaning he is currently swimming 35-40km a week, while the distance of the Channel swim is on average 40-50km.

Rafferty, who is also competitive water polo player as well as a swimmer, works as a director for Swim4Life, which provides swim lessons to reduce the number of drowning events in Ireland as well as promote the lifelong benefits of swimming for safety, health and fitness, and recreational enjoyment.

As well as embarking on the swim across the channel in association with Swim4Life, Rafferty is also doing it for the Irish Cancer Society and has a fundraising page at http://www.mycharity.ie/event/niall_raffertys_event/ where people can donate and leave good luck messages.

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