Swim Library

Man Swims English Channel for Charity

Today at Waterworks Aquatics we celebrated Superhero Day. This was an incredibly fun event, and we decided to congratulate Tom Bell who is a superhero in several eyes. Tom Bell lives in Pennsylvania with his wife, Natalie, and their dog Chilli. Tom swam in high school and has always enjoyed long-distance swimming in addition to other endurance sports. After hearing that one of Natalie’s orthodontic residents at Temple University swam the English Channel, Tom began to think that this was something he could do.Tom Bell has been training for two years, six days a week, to swim the 20-mile passage between England and France. "It can be pretty challenging, particularly for somebody like myself who does not have a strong swimming background," Bell said. "When I heard this, it sort of inspired me to ask a little bit more about what it would be like to swim the channel," Bell said.

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Bell soon found out it would be a challenge. You need to contract a boat to escort you across the channel, the water temperature is in the low 60s and you are not allowed to ever touch the boat or wear a wet suit. With the current, the 20-mile course could become closer to 25 miles, and Bell said he expects it to take him about 14 hours to complete. The water is cold and there is a good chance of meeting jellyfish, seaweed and the occasional plank of wood. It is also one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world with 600 tankers passing through and 200 ferries/seacats and other vessels going across daily. ”There are several major challenges. One is the distance, but another one is hypothermia." But Bell said he is up for the challenge because he is doing it to raise money for the IM ABLE Foundation, which works to promote an active lifestyle for people with disabilities from being physically active by providing grants, resources, fitness opportunities and motivation.. "Really. some of my fondest memories are from sports, so it is really nice to help an organization that would also enable others to get that same enjoyment," said Bell.

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Today, Bell accomplished his goal swimming 20 miles from England to France in 15 hour and 33 minutes. There have been a total of 3086 Channel swims, 256 of which have been part of multiple-way swims. 1426 swimmers have completed a total of 1903 solo swims. Bell is now a part of history and was able to raise over $10,000 for the IM ABLE Foundation.

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