Head gets set to take the plunge

The new head teacher at Hipperholme and Lightcliffe High School Mr Anthony Smith
The new head teacher at Hipperholme and Lightcliffe High School Mr Anthony Smith

HEAD teacher, Anthony Smith, will be jumping into the deep end when he attempts to swim the English Channel.

The 20-miles swim which is expected to take around 12 hours will take place in July 2013 in aid of a charity close to his heart, Cancer Research.

“I have always been a distance swimmer and as head of a sports college I thought I ought to get fitter, lose some weight and try and achieve a once in a lifetime goal and benefit this vital charity,” said Mr Smith, who is head of Hipperholme and Lightcliffe High School in Lightcliffe.

“In 2013, it will be ten years since I lost my mum to cancer who suffered needlessly for years from this horrible disease. Being able to swim the channel is my way of helping raise money for their valuable cause.”

The decision to undertake the challenge came after a discussion with his friend who had just done the London Marathon.

“I wanted to do something for charity but just thought I was never going to do a run or climb Everest or something similar so I decided to swim the Channel,” he said.

Mr Smith has booked the swim for next July which is the closest date he could get but the downside is that it will be during the coldest period. “If I wanted to do a warmer one I would have to wait until August 2015,” he said.

The gruelling training has already started and he has joined two triathlon events who allow people to swim without a wetsuit, something Mr Smith needs to be prepared for.

He is also hoping to navigate raw sewerage, jellyfish, drift wood and cross channel ferries as well dealing the cold water during his swim.

He will have a one on one pilot who will escort him during his journey.

Mr Smith will stop every 28 minutes to take on board calories because he will burn over 14,000 calories or 56 Mars bars during the swim. He will not be able to stop for food or drink and will be fed by a stick for the day.

Accompanying him and showing her support during the trip will be colleague Ann Henderson.

“The fitness doesn’t bother me because I can get up to the level of fitness I will need. It is the cold water I need to get used to,” said Mr Smith.

“The swim does seem a long way away but I am already having to plan my training sessions and calories because if I lose too much I risk getting hypothermia.”

Mr Smith is training four times a week and burning over 5,000 calories in the gym and pool to prepare for the challenge which has been undertaken by less people than climbed Everest.

His target for Cancer Research is £15,000. To sponsor him visit www.justgiving.com/anthonychannelsmith or text GYCF48 5 to 70070.