Jane Hatwell shares her story on completing the Aspire Channel Swim. The 44 year-old completed 22 miles of swimming in 22 days whilst battling bowel disease.
22 miles in 22 days
By 2010 my illness had been under control for a couple of years and life had resumed to normal. Unfortunately in 2014 I relapsed and I have been struggling with my illness ever since.
Swimming has always been a part of my life as my late father was a swimming teacher and he always encouraged me to get in the pool. But when I was four years old, I got into difficulty in my neighbours pond and since then I have always held back. However recently my love for the sport has grown.
I was always been very fit person with an active lifestyle from running and cycling to horse riding but struggled to participate in these sports due to my illness. Thankfully swimming provided me with an activity to help me remain focused and keep up my fitness levels.
I couldn’t run as much as I would like due to joint pain so swimming took its place.
Long term illness affects every part of you from the physical to the emotional but I totally believe that I have swum myself back into fitness and hopefully remission is pending.
I recently completed the Aspire Channel Swim, 22 miles in 22 days, my first sports event in over a year. It enabled me to not only keep active but also to raise money and awareness for my condition and other charities.
It was hard for me to enter the pool at first but once in the water I discovered a new found strength. By the end of my Aspire challenge I was swimming one mile in 35 minutes and I now aim to get even faster!
This success has shown me that no matter how tough things get I will always do my best to take control and maintain my fitness. I’m trying to turn a negative into a positive and completing the Aspire Channel Swim has taught me how resilient and strong I really am.
I hope my story raises awareness for Crohns and Colitis and I also hope that I can give some encouragement to others who are suffering from illness. I truly believe active sports helps recovery of most illnesses and swimming for me is the best way forward as it’s not physically aggressive.
Looking ahead my next challenge is to complete a triathlon and one day I hope to swim the Channel for real.
- Inspired by Jane Hatwell’s story? Find out how to get involved in Masters swimming here.