Channel Relay Swim set for August

We have a date for our Channel Relay Swim and we are just a tiny bit excited. Subject to the right weather conditions we will be heading out of Dover and towards France on the 18th August under the watchful eye of the amazing Eddie Spelling onboard Anastasia Love Swimming The Channel

We have an incredible team of 6 who have all been training through the winter and throughout some very trying conditions during lockdown. Some of them have nearly achieved their fundraising targets and others need just a little bit more help and we hope you can provide that help.

Over the coming week, we will be introducing our merry band of 6 and would love it if you can put your support behind them.



Meet Catherine, she is swimming the channel for SwimTayka on the 18th August. Hear what she has to say about this immense challenge:

“Ever since I heard that swimming the channel was possible I’ve had a burning desire to do it myself.

As a mum of three beautiful children life has been pretty busy with full-time work and kids over the last 8 years.

I suffered greatly with pre and postnatal depression with my third baby. When he was only five weeks old he spent a week in the hospital with bronchiolitis. It gave me lots of time for reflection. I began research on swimming the channel and read Jackie Cobell’s story (longest time for a channel crossing) and I was hooked!  I joined my local masters group and loved the training.

When I returned to work after maternity leave I read the internal magazine and there was an article by Emma France (head of Dover Channel Training) and her story. I took that as a sign and booked the Mallorca endurance swim camp and surprised myself by completing it!  My kids met me at the airport with a homemade medal and I realised that although I felt guilty for doing something for myself it was actually giving something back to them.

I applied to do a channel relay but I’d missed the boat, then Bryan called me and said I might have a spot for 2020! It’s like I’d won the lottery!

Despite all the hurdles of the last 6months including quitting my job and relocating my family 200miles, oh and Covid-19! I’ve managed to kick start my training again and am hoping for a successful relay attempt this year.”

So go on why not show your support for Cath and sponsor her – no amount is too small.




Meet Alison. She is the second member of our awesome Channel Relay Team and she will be heading for France on the 18th August.

This is what she has to say about her reasons for taking part.

“I have always swum. I have always swum quite well. At School I was the swimming captain and I always swam with Eastbourne swimming Club in competitions, and when I had my children, swimming was virtually the first thing they learnt to do.

Bringing the family up, my needs got put on the back burner, now they are grown up and I have re discovered my love for swimming, and now especially cold water and open water swimming.

Swimming the channel is something I always dreamt of but never thought it possible, but here I am now taking on this fabulous challenge with like-minded people in achieving our goal as a team.

I believe that learning to swim is one of the most important things in life for children all around the world. We can never underestimate the power of water.”

To support Alison click on the link below.



Meet Jo, she is the third member of our Channel Team that we would love to introduce to you.

Jo caught Lyme disease back in 2004, which has resulted in Rheumatoid Arthritis. Not being one to give in, a stubborn characteristic inherited from her mother’s side of the family, Jo has accepted her illness, and decided to make every moment count while she can. 

She now embraces being out of her comfort zone, both physically and mentally and has taken on many challenges since her diagnosis. 

From an early age, Jo loved watching all manner of sports on the TV and was often egged on by her older brother to perform various tricks such as somersaults from windowsills, and leaps from the back of moving vehicles on the farm, none of which were successful, and usually ended with a similar routine of TCP, cotton wool a few tears, and a patch in the knee of another pair of trousers. 

With age, Jo’s passion for adventure grew. With every supportive and tolerant husband Ray by her side, they have travelled a lot, including climbing Kilimanjaro and trekking to Everest Base Camp.

She also learnt how to skydive and went on to win Gold at the World over 40’s formation skydiving Competition (POPS) with her team in Argentina, and has sailed across the North Atlantic in a tall ship. She is a keen member of her local triathlon and cycling clubs, and also enjoys Crossfit and obviously open water swimming.

Swimming the English Channel has always been on Jo’s bucket list. Car journeys to various swimming events with teammate Lucy are where seeds are planted and plans are rapidly hatched, and how Jo finds herself about to actually embark on another bucket list adventure.

Why Swim Tayka? Water safety and management is something very close to Jo’s heart. Having grown up with a view of the sea from the top of the farm, trips to the beach were a regular occurrence. She remembers all too clearly an incident as a toddler where she struggled to get back to shore in strong currents. Learning to swim was part of the school programme. Without this lifesaving skill, things could have been very different. Swim Tayka is giving that second chance, alongside water management education, to other Jos in disadvantaged communities.

To support Jo please donate via her Total Giving Page.



Meet Katie, she is the 4th member of our Channel Relay Team and we would love to introduce her to you.

This is what she has to say about her upcoming challenge:

“It has been my lifelong dream to swim the channel, a weird dream to have as I am not particularly good at swimming! But I love it, I swim a lot and I am very determined. 

I’m lucky enough to have some friends to swim with. There will be 6 people and hopefully, they will be much better swimmers than me. We are swimming to raise money for SwimTayka ; which is a fabulous charity who teach kids to swim and respect the water and it’s sustainability around the world. 

The charity is really a brilliant fit with many of the things that I find so important in my life. Firstly, I have 2 kids who love swimming and to date, I have taken for granted their access to brilliant resources to learn this basic life skill. Secondly, as Chief Marketing Officer for TUI, we take millions of people on holiday, where they enjoy safe swimming in pools and the ocean and thirdly; many of the SwimTayka projects are in destinations where our customers spend their holidays so supporting local communities is a real opportunity to raise awareness of the lack of support for these kids locally.

You can follow me, swimming in freezing cold waters at my local lido or lakes, doing horrible swimming drills and eventually braving the channel on Instagram @katielillico “

So go on show her your support and please help her achieve her goal by sponsoring her with the link below.



My name is Lucy, and I live in Surrey with my husband, 13-year-old son, two cats and Storm the dog. I’m very excited to be part of the Swim Tayka, Brazil English Channel Relay Team. 2020 is a big year for me, as I’m also taking on the English Channel solo, raising money again for Swim Tayka. 

I’ve always loved the water but came to swim seriously, later in life. My turning point was when my son starting swimming lessons as a baby, this led me to qualify as a Swimming Teacher, and to begin a career change. I then progressed to qualifying as a competitive Club Swimming Coach, Open Water Swimming Coach and Disability Swimming Teacher. My son is now much faster than me, and I’m seriously proud of his achievements, which include swimming Butterfly in the Surrey County Championships, and the London Open Water Championships. 

Swim Tayka is an amazing charity and one I support wholeheartedly. I’m lucky to work with so many children whose lives are enriched by learning water safety and swimming technique. Too many children in the world are not so lucky. I’m shocked by the drowning rate worldwide. Hopefully, my 2020 challenges will help to make a difference and raise awareness of Swim Tayka’s valuable work. 



And last but by no means least is the amazing Rob Sisley. He completes our perfect group of 6 and this is what he has to say.

“My name is Rob Sisley, and I am 49 years old. I live in Bearsted, Kent with my wife Angela and my two daughters Isabelle, aged 14, and Scarlet aged 10. 

Swimming the channel is something that I thought about doing when I was swimming competitively as a teenager over 30 years ago. I stopped swimming in my early 20’s and came to terms with the fact that it was not going to happen. Last year, after a long break from swimming, I took part in a number of open water swims. It was really good to get back into the water and I found that I really enjoyed training again. I am very lucky to have been given the opportunity to take part in a 6 person channel relay swim in June 2020. Being older and wiser, I really appreciate what a wonderful opportunity this is and it’s very rewarding to be working towards achieving this life long ambition. 

It’s great to be part of a team. It’s really important to train hard and be well prepared for the swim, and knowing that you can’t let the team down provides even more of a motivation. Everyone’s journey is different, and we will all face our own different challenges. I am sure that we will support each other in training and on the day. It’s going to be a great experience to make the journey together.

Finally,  the swim is in aid of SwimTayka – a charity that helps provide swimming lessons and environmental education for clean water stewardship to poor and underprivileged children across the world. I feel very proud to be raising money for such a worthy cause, and it’s another motivator for all of the training and preparation.”

So please make his family extra proud of him (if that’s at all possible!) and sponsor him using the link below. A few pounds or a few hundred pounds, we are grateful for any donations.