NPAS Flight Officer plans Channel Swim for charity

Motivated by her own fight for life as a newborn baby, NPAS Redhill's Tactical Flight Officer Michelle Robinson is facing another challenge - swimming across the English Channel.

Michelle is one of a relay team of five who plan to swim the choppy 22.5 miles during the week commencing 14 June 2021.

Swimming in one-hour shifts, wearing just a swimming costume, hat and goggles in nippy 12 degree Celsius waters, Michelle and her team mates hope to complete the challenge in 14 hours.

Dodging container ships and ferries in two major shipping lanes, the team will take the plunge at midnight, swimming from Dover, through the dark, to make it to Calais.

But it is the jellyfish that are on the mind of the tenacious TFO.

“146 years after the first successful Channel swim, it still remains one of the most gruelling feats of human endeavour with many attempting and failing. Tides, weather, sickness and fatigue will all play a part and success is never guaranteed,” said Michelle.

“The mental toughness as well as the fitness needed to swim in 13-14 degrees water for any length of time in just a swimsuit is immense.  And don’t forget the jellyfish.”

Michelle has already raised over £2,000 of her £2,500 target for The Alexa Trust, a UK charity set up to support the parents of babies receiving neonatal care – a cause close to her heart.

“I was born ten weeks prematurely. I was so small I fitted in the palm of my dad’s hand and my gran had to make doll’s clothes for me. I was unable to breathe and spent three weeks on a ventilator. Nurses had to feed me via the veins in my head as my arms were so small the veins easily collapsed. For my parents, it must have been horrendous,” she said.

Michelle answered an advert for the charity swim and had to complete a gruelling two-hour qualifying swim in waters below 15 degrees Celsius to make it onto the team.

Once qualified, her training was limited to a local lake near her Sussex home because lockdown prevented her travelling to the coast.

Everyone at NPAS wishes Michelle lots of luck. Follow her progress on her Just Giving page.