Swimmers from a club based at Brockwell Lido will swim a five-person, 18-mile relay from Jersey to France at the end of June to raise money for charity.
John Crozier, Nicola Green, Tim Sutton, Francesca Aquiline, and Morgan Lloyd Malcolm of Brockwell Swimmers, will swim in temperatures of around 15 to 12°C for 12 to 14 hours, with four of them swimming three one-hour slots, and one person swimming twice.
The team and their reserve, Jo Newbald, will be raising money for Wheels for Wellbeing (WfW), an award-winning charity that aims to support disabled people of all ages to enjoy the benefits of cycling.
Sutton, who is chair of Brockwell Swimmers, said: “Each of the swimmers have their own personal reasons for challenging themselves in this way and we wanted to support this local charity with a connection to Brockwell Lido, as they are doing such fantastic work and raising awareness about inclusive cycling.”
WfW have three local cycling centres in Herne Hill, Croydon, and Ladywell, where session users can access all kinds of cycles, including side-by-side hand cycles, front-to-back tandem tricycles, and recumbent cycles.
The high cost of this equipment and requirement for storage means that without the charity, many would not have access to the cycles.
WfW Campaigns and Policy Manager Kay Inckle said: “We believe that there is a cycle for everybody and for disabled people it’s so important because so many parts of life are ridden with barriers.
“The physical exercise, access to the outdoors, mobility, cardio and positive mental health effects provided by cycling make it the perfect answer.
“It gives people freedom and independence using their own body, the sense of moving fast through space, and a sense of autonomy.”
Brockwell Swimmers have raised almost £1,500 of their £5,000 goal and the club are also hoping to run a lane in Brockwell Lido for other swimmers to be sponsored to swim lengths mirroring the Jersey challenge.
The money will fund the costs of cycle maintenance, cycling instructors, as well as go towards the purchase of new equipment.
The swimmers have been practicing at the lido and recently travelled to Dover where they swam for 20 minutes each in 11°C.
They will be completing the channel qualifying swim, which is required before they can travel to Jersey, in the next month.
Inckle added: “It’s wonderful that people are using group physical activity to support physical activity for other people, helping them to get out and about and access the physical and mental health benefits of that, but also develop a community connection.”