Shropshire man helps to set new relay swim record

A Shropshire man has helped to break a swimming challenge record as part of the fastest six-person relay team to complete the signed up for his biggest challenge.

Paul on board the boat
Paul on board the boat

Paul Collins, 39, who lives at Wistanstow near Craven Arms was part of the construction company Wates' relay team attempting the charity swim from Jersey to France.

Not only did they complete the challenge, raising funds for the Young Women’s Trust, they set a new record.

They completed the event in a recorded breaking time of 7 hours and 40 minutes – the fastest time ever for a relay team of six members.

Paul said the challenge began at 6am on July 8 on boat the team's boat the Lionheart) at St Catherine’s Breakwater, Jersey.

"At 6.30am our first swimmer started the event at a nearby beach. The conditions at this stage were ideal, the water was calm, 16.5C water temperature and very little wind," he said.

However as Paul, the fifth swimmer, entered the water tides changed, conditions got choppier and there was an increase in jellyfish.

"I had trained in rough conditions and was confident I would thrive. I quickly got into my rhythm, at one with the conditions, my muscles were warm and settled into swimming at strong pace. I divided the hour into four 15 minute quarters which the support boat kept me informed of and treated each quarter as a mini race to optimise my performance. My strategy of swimming as hard as I could for as long as I could paid dividends as I seemed to have benefited from tidal conditions and managed to cover a distance of 4.5 kilometres during my one hour swim."

"I had concerns the attempt may be halted by the onboard adjudicator for health and safety reasons. However we pushed on with the challenge and all relay team members swam the last few hundred metres of the swim to experience swimming onto the French beach."

People can still contribute to the charity through the fundraising page, justgiving.com/fundraising/watesj2fswim.

Paul had to complete a tough selection process for the charity swim at the Sandwell Aquatic Centre, built for the Commonwealth Games by Wates.

“We were the first people to use the pool,” he said.

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