Havant & Waterlooville stars go to great lengths

Havant & Waterlooville swimming club raised money with their channel challenge. Picture: Jonathan Stock
Havant & Waterlooville swimming club raised money with their channel challenge. Picture: Jonathan Stock
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AN IMPRESSIVE effort from Havant & Waterlooville saw more than £1000 raised in their annual channel crossing in memory of former swimmer Chris Hunt.

More than 100 swimmers took part in the swim on January 6, where they attempted to swim the distance of crossing the channel to France and back, with all proceeds going to Wessex Cancer Trust.

In just two hours, the club smashed their record distance, charging to a total distance of 107.4 miles, which equates to 6,919 lengths of the 25 metre pool at Waterlooville Leisure Centre.

It was the 10th year of the event, which has taken place annually in memory of Chris Hunt, a former swimmer of the club who died from a heart attack during a training session at the pool in 2007.

His friends and family decided to raise money the following year by swimming the marathon distance in his memory.

And the club have since joined them in the challenge, raising thousands for various charities in the process.

With Hunt’s family watching on, swimmers aged from between eight to 71 dived in to swim.

To add to the difficulty, each swimmer completed the challenge swimming butterfly.

This is the most physically challenging of the four strokes, and it was Hunt’s personal favourite.

After completing the gruelling two-hour swim, eight of Hunt’s friends lined up to complete the challenge with a final relay, with the swimmers forming a guard of honour on the poolside in his memory.

Ken Parry, chair of Havant & Waterlooville swimming club said: ‘It was fitting that our 10th annual Chris Hunt Challenge was by far our most successful.

‘Many former members of the club who knew Chris came to take part too.

‘We raised money for Wessex Cancer Trust, a charity that has supported members of the club over the last few years.

‘It was a very positive way to start the year.’

The event was the first of a busy 2018 for the swimming club, which are set to send multiple swimmers to the Hampshire County Championships.

The championships open at the Mountbatten Centre on Saturday and on Sunday then move to Waterlooville (January 27 and 28) before returning to the Mountbatten (February 3 and February 4).

by Tom Bonnett