September 29, 2020

Science File

Healthy life is yours

Dentist to take on charity swim across English Channel

A dentist is getting ready to take on the English Channel in a bid to raise money for a dental charity.

This month, Jim Lafferty will embark on a 12-hour solo swim from Dover to Calais.

Braving water temperatures of around 18°C, he hopes to raise £5,000 for Dentaid, a charity that works to improve oral health in the UK and overseas.

Although the shortest channel route is 21 miles, drifting currents will force Jim to swim around 25 miles to make it across to France. His solo journey will take place between 9 and 15 September.

Overcome obstacles

Jim will swim alongside a boat called High Hopes containing his support team, who will help him to overcome the risks of exhaustion, hypothermia and strong currents. The team includes a pilot and an observer from the Channel Swimming and Piloting Federation.

‘They will be looking after me by keeping me fed and hydrated and navigating,’ said Jim.

‘Also, they’ll keep me going when I feel like giving up. When you’re swimming for that length of time it’s a balance between saving your energy and maintaining your swimming technique. It can actually get quite boring but it’s important to keep focus.

‘You normally have to wait two to three years for a slot and support boat to become available. But a friend of mine offered me his place.

‘I’m excited and nervous at the same time. It’s often said that more people have climbed Mount Everest than have swam the English Channel. It’s only been done solo by 2,125 people so far – so it will be quite an achievement.’

Challenging and exciting

The Sheffield-based dentist – who also works as an international dentolegal consultant for Dental Protection – has always been a keen swimmer.

Before discovering open water swimming a few years ago, he was a water polo player and swam competitively.

According to new rules, so long as he does not get within two metres of anybody on the French coast – and returns immediately – he will not have to quarantine.

‘We are so grateful that Jim is doing this incredible swim for Dentaid,’ said the charity’s fundraising manager Sue Smith.

‘It’s such a challenging and exciting way to raise money for our projects at a time when more people than ever need our help.’

To sponsor Jim’s challenge, visit www.uk.virginmoneygiving.com/JimLafferty2.

And to track the swim, visit www.cspf.co.uk/swim-routes.


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