FORMER Worcester Warriors star Alex Grove made a splash at a city leisure centre in the latest part of his training effort to cross the English Channel in aid of Acorns Children’s Hospice.
The retired sportsman will take the plunge this summer to tackle the world’s busiest shipping lane and completed a 21-mile trial at David Lloyd Worcester last Wednesday (February 5) where he clocked up a staggering 1,334 lengths in 11 hours.
His effort saw the fund-raising top an incredible £13,000 since December ahead of the 32-year-old’s journey from Dover to Cap Gris Nez in France on August 1.
“It was great to complete the distance. I’m fully aware the real swim will be significantly harder due to the wind, the tides and the waves, not to mention the cold water, the jellyfish and the likelihood of swimming for hours in the darkness,” he said.
“But, from a psychological point of view, it was pleasing to complete the distance. It was made a lot easier with the support of the David Lloyd members who contributed to the fund-raising but particularly by the support of some familiar faces from the Warriors alongside me in the pool who joined me for the last couple of hours.”
The father-of-two was supported poolside by Warriors official player ambassador for Acorns Niall Annett and Chris Pennell while skipper GJ van Velze, Matt Cox, Marco Mama and Warriors Women back row Taz Bricknell all joined him in the water for a few lengths.
Niall said: “As someone who has done some very grueling fitness sessions, this is something I can’t comprehend. Mentally and physically this is one of the toughest things I’ve ever seen anyone take on. He deserves a lot of credit and we’re all here to support him the best we can.”
GJ said: “Supporting Alex in the pool I thought I’d swim with him a few lengths. I only managed 50 and I’m shattered. But I came to support him because he’s doing it for such a great cause.”
Taz added: “Anyone who puts their hand up to be in a swimming pool for 11 hours in a row is some sort of hero in my eyes. It’s an amazing thing he’s doing.”
Mel Hall, area fund-raiser for Acorns, said: “We are all in complete awe of what Alex has achieved here. To swim for 11 hours straight is incredible.
“We’re beyond grateful he has chosen to support Acorns, raising both crucial funds and awareness of the work we do. It’s only thanks to people like Alex who go that extra mile we are able to continue to be there for the children and families who need us.”
Visit www.justgiving.com/alex-channel-swim for more.