MidKent College student Sophie Tills, 19, from Rainham, has already completed a team relay through the 21-mile Strait of Dover but now plans to tackle it solo for charity.
The tireless teen, who has been swimming since she was five, aims to raise money for the Make-a-Wish Foundation and Marie Curie Cancer Care.
“They’re both really great charities so it will give me more motivation to complete the swim if I know I’m doing it to help them,” said Sophie.
“I’ll probably be exhausted towards the end, and if the weather’s bad too then I’m going to need that little something extra to help me reach dry land.
“I’m confident I’ll do it though, which would be an amazing achievement. I’ll be so relieved at the end, especially as I’ll know I won’t have to do any more training.”
Sophie is currently training for up to six hours every Sunday in the Port of Dover, and will then swim for two 10-hour sessions in Lake Windermere, Cumbria, with a view to tackling the Channel in mid-August.
She is currently studying on the Extended Diploma in Public Services course at MidKent College’s Medway Campus.
“I lost my Nan to cancer and have a friend who is ill at the moment, so I wanted to raise money for charities that help both adults and young people,” said Sophie.
“I’m a little bit nervous about the swim but at the same time I’m really excited and can’t wait for the day to come round.
“Hopefully the water will be a bit warmer in August because it’s freezing out there at the moment. That’s half the battle.”
The youngest person to have swum the Channel solo is Thomas Gregory, who was just 11 years and 11 months when he did so in 1988. His record is unlikely to ever be broken as there is now an age limit of 16 years.
In 2010 Jackie Cobell, from Five Oak Green, near Tonbridge, broke the record for the longest successful crossing with an exhausting time of 28 hours and 44 minutes.
Visit www.justgiving.com/user/33868214 to sponsor Sophie’s attempt.
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