Chisholm heading overseas for English Channel swim attempt

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Scott Anderson
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After months of training and planning, Swift Current's Meghan Chisholm is flying overseas on Thursday to embark on the pursuit of her dream to swim the English Channel.

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.

Chisholm has trained for the attempt by spending hours training in the water, completing a 34 kilometre training swim on Feb. 20, tackling a long swim in Last Mountain Lake, and attempting to duplicate the cold water swim experience she can expect while in the Atlantic Ocean between England and France. She completed her official qualifying swim on June 10 at the Fairview Pool in water that was cooled to 14.5 Celsius, with the pool never exceeding 15.5 Celsius, keeping the temperature below 60 Fahrenheit.

She admits that despite all her training and simulating the conditions expected in the swim, she does not know what the combination of all these factors will be like.

"The last couple of weeks I've been not really wanting to talk about the swim actually. I've kind of been really nervous. I don't know if I'm ready. I haven't done anything like this, and there hasn't been anyone close to me or anybody that I've known who could give me some tips and help me out," Chisholm said days before leaving for England.

"Each day I get more nervous. I wouldn't say scared, but I don't know what the future holds, so I guess nervous is the word to describe it."

She does feel she is prepared for the cold water aspect of the swim, which is colder than the water temperatures in the pool during her years as a competitive summer swim club member.

"For me I got really, really cold when I was thinking about it. But as soon as I kind of blocked it out and started swimming and getting into my rhythm I just kind of forgot about how cold it was."

"Each day I get more nervous. I wouldn't say scared, but I don't know what the future holds, so I guess nervous is the word to describe it." Meghan Chisholm

While researching the swim she knows there will be ocean currents and potential problems with jelly fish, and the current will push her to swim further than the 34 kilometre distance between coasts. However, she feels the toughest challenge will be the mental part of the swim which she is hoping to finish in 12 hours.

"I would say the toughest part is mental, honestly. If you're not having that fast pace in your head or you're not timing the waves, and you're not mentally ready, that could make or break a swim. You could be physically fit, you could be ready, but it's all mental. It's a mental game pretty much."

"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 during a previous interview.

While the swim is a personal challenge, she is also fundraising for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) as extra incentive for tackling this daunting swim. She said she was bolstered by the many people who shared with her their personal stories of friends and families who have dealt with Juvenile Diabetes.

"I think it's inspiring, and it makes me happy to know that I'm doing my swim for a good cause."

Her efforts to raise funds for JDRF has passed the $7,500 mark earlier this week, but she is hoping to raise $25,000 from supporters online at http://jdrfca.donordrive.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.event&eventID=1736.

Meghan will be attempting the swim with her parents Donna and John Chisholm in the pilot boat for the crossing. They will be flying the Canadian flag, Saskatchewan flag and a City of Swift Current flag on the pilot boat during the attempt.

"They've helped me out and said, 'It's your swim! You just go out there and you just swim. Don't think about anything else, just swim, and we'll see what happens in the end.'"

Organizations: Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation

Geographic location: Swift Current, English Channel, England Last Mountain Lake Atlantic Ocean France Saskatchewan

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  • Sue Oldham
    July 16, 2014 - 01:46

    Hi Megan, good luck and I hope you have a great crossing. Just keep swimming, one stoke after another and believe in yourself. You have done all the hard work and now it is time for your success. I too will be swimming - first week of August, this is my third solo crossing, the other two were successful - at 61 y.o. & 65y.o. and so you can do it. All the very best Sue

    • Meghan Chisholm
      July 16, 2014 - 20:07

      Hi Sue, Thank you so much for the encouragement, just curious, where are you from?

  • Gord & Millie Allsen
    July 16, 2014 - 01:19

    Meghan On behalf of the S.C. A.C.T. CLUB we wish you the Best of Luck on your upcoming swim. Shoot for the Moon even if You miss you'll still land in the STARS ! All A.C.T. MEMBERS

    • Meghan Chisholm
      July 16, 2014 - 20:22

      Hi Mr/Mrs Allen, Thank you so much for thinking of me and the support from the A.C.T. club. I will give my all and will be thinking of all of you.