Aspire - the leading charity for open water swimming

Aspire, a national charity that provides practical help to people who have been paralysed by Spinal Cord Injury, is the leading charity for open water swimming.  Swimmers can take on all types of challenges, from the River Arun and Loch Lomond to the Solent and Relay Channel swims.

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20 years ago, in 1999, the charity launched its first Aspire Channel Swim, a pool challenge where participants swim 22 miles in their local pool over 12 weeks. A decade later, in 2009, Aspire officially dipped its toes into the world of open water swimming, with its inaugural Relay Channel Swim. Every year since, Aspire, has seen relay Channel teams swim from England to France - a distance of 22 miles, with each swimmer taking their turn to swim the Channel for an hour in rotation until they reach land. 

Since that first Relay Channel Swim Aspire’s Swim Series has expanded further with the introduction of multiple iconic events, including river, lake and sea swims. Over the past 20 years Aspire’s intrepid swimmers have raised millions of pounds helping countless people go from spinal cord injuries to independence. 

Every four hours someone in the UK is paralysed by a spinal cord injury; it can happen to anyone at any time, and no one is prepared for how it will change their life. People with Spinal Cord Injury will lose muscle and sensory control and a large majority will become full time wheelchair users for the rest of their lives.

Through its projects and programmes, Aspire offers practical support to the 50,000 people living with a spinal cord injury in the UK. This support allows people with spinal injury to lead fulfilled and independent lives in their homes, with their families, in their workplace and in leisure time.

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Find out more about swimming with Aspire by looking at their  www.aspire.org.uk/swimming