Huish Academy student Bobby Clark (14) will lead an U16 relay team across the English Channel next summer.
A regular at Huish Leisure's early-morning swim sessions, Bobby has teamed up with HL's Raise the Roof campaign - the community's contribution to funding the new pool buildings, due for completion around the time of his planned crossing.
An accomplished swimmer already, Bobby won the South West Open Water 5k off the coast of Weymouth last June in 1 hour 18 minutes – the only Junior to complete the distance – and lifting the Somerset Men's Open trophy at the same time. But the Channel is a wholly different prospect...
To be ready to combat waves and swell mid-Channel, HL Assistant Manager James Walpole is supervising additional land training in the HL fitness suite to develop the strength Bobby will need.
And the biggest challenge will be the cold; to be licensed to swim by the Channel Swimming Association, U16s need to complete a 2 hour qualification open water swim in waters below 16° C. So with most of the training through the winter confined to the pool and on land, Bobby has set himself the unenviable task of completing a 2 hour sponsored sea swim off the coast of Spain in the Christmas holidays. If his 9 stone frame can withstand the cold for the whole two hours, he aims to go past the 8km mark.
"I'm hoping people will sponsor me per kilometre" says Bobby. "At that temperature my best chance of keeping going in the water for 2 hours will be to keep my work rate up and push to go as far as I can in the time – my target is 8km. That's going to make it by far the toughest thing I've ever done!
"Hopefully it will help to make sure we get a pool the whole community can use all year."
Please sponsor Bobby – by email or sponsorship forms available at Huish Leisure Reception