Chisholm preparing for English Channel swim this summer

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Swift Current's Meghan Chisholm will be attempting a swim of the English Channel between England and France this July while raising funds for the JDRF.

Swift Current's Meghan Chisholm did not let being land locked stop her from pursuing her big dream of swimming the English Channel.

Chisholm is aiming to tackle the 34 kilometer swim from England to France this summer, but knows she had a lot of had work ahead in order to complete one of the ultimate swimming endurance challenges.

"It's just been a goal that I've had for a long time. And I thought now is the opportunity. I've always wanted to see how far and how hard I could push myself as a swimmer," Chisholm said from pool side at the Aquatic Centre this past week.

"I am ecstatic. I am excited to do this. I've wanted to do this since the day that I came up with this idea...but there's always that doubt that you have. Am I good enough? Can I do this? But I know that I can! And I know that I have to stop doubting myself and I have to stop thinking about the negatives. I've just got to swim and see the shore of France."

She swam for six summers with the Swift Current ACT/UCT Stingrays, and is currently both a full time lifeguard/instructor at the Aquatic Centre plus a member of the coaching team of the Swift Current Barracudas. She laughs that it feels like she lives at the pool.

"I love swimming, so I've grown up with it and I've had tons of good experiences, and training."

Chisholm is gearing up for a long distance training swim on Friday, February 28 where she will be in the pool for a 10 hour swim. She has previously completed a 7.5 hour non stop training swim where she covered 21 kilometers.

While the swim is a personal challenge, she will also be fundraising for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) as extra incentive for tackling this daunting swim.

"When I was swimming the eight hour swim I thought to myself 'I could just stand up and I could just stop.' I could just stop and say I don't want to go anymore. But I'm partnered with JDRF, and I'm doing it for a cause. I just don't want to give up, especially when I have people behind me counting on me being able to do this swim and raising awareness for JDRF."

As part of her preparation she already participates in a series of training sessions starting with a one hour to 90 minute continuous swim, followed by only a one minute break to eat and re-hydrate before she swims continually for another hour or more.

While the in-pool training is enjoyable, she is preparing for the mental challenge of doing the actual swim in the Atlantic Ocean.

"I haven't done an ocean swim before, which is kind of terrifying with my goal that I have, but it's one of those things I'll have to cross when I get there," she admitted.

"I find it relaxing," she said of her current training regiment. "It's very calm. When I swim I don't hear anything. It's very calm. You just think."

During her open water training she has already completed a number of training swims at Lac Pelletier and around Sask Landing, and she is already more confident in her abilities.

"I definitely have improved since my first six hour swim. I felt that I could go longer and faster, and I didn't feel as tired or sore after. Definitely there's more training to be done. Definitely more things to work on."

She is also gearing up for a June qualifying swim in BC which would qualify her to swim the English Channel after proving she can tackle a 10 hour swim.

Chisholm has a target goal of finishing her English Channel swim in 12 hours, but knows there is some uncertainty ahead during her first ocean swim. She knows there will be an adjustment from the balmy 29 degrees Celsius temperatures at the Aquatic Centre to the English Channel water temperatures expected to be in the 18 down to 15 degree range. While researching the swim she knows there will be ocean currents and potential problems with jelly fish, but fortunately she will not have to contend with sharks.

"I've never swam with sharks before, and I don't really want to. Apparently they're not as vicious as they seem, but I don't really want to test that theory."

Her English Channel swim is planned between July 19 and 26, where she is scheduled as the fourth swimmer among a group of six challenge participants. The swimmers are all logistically supported by qualified guides from the English Channel Association, and their effort is observed by an official spotter. During they swim they can not touch the support boat and have to tread water while taking nutrition and hydration breaks.

Those wishing to learn more about her swim can stop in at the Aquatic Centre on Friday or during one of a few upcoming training days. Individuals wishing to made a donation to JDRF in support of her swim can pick up a pledge sheet during one of her training swims or support her online at http://jdrfca.donordrive.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.event&eventID=1736.

Organizations: Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, English Channel Association

Geographic location: English Channel, Swift Current, France England Atlantic Ocean

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