Five swimmers aiming to raise £330,000 with a record-breaking sea crossing

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Three swimmers who trained at Warrender Baths Club are among a team of five aiming to raise £330,000 for charity next weekend with a record-breaking English Channel crossing.

The trio are Dan Wallace, who, as well as being a 2016 Olympic silver medallist has won Commonwealth Games and World titles, Jordan Dunn and Ross McWhirter, all coached by Laurel Bailey at the newly re-opened Marchmont-based Swim Centre. They will be joined by Jack Blyzinskyj and Harrison Haines, friends of Dan from the University of Florida.

And it was Blyzinkyj who came up with the idea according to Dan, who says: “When Jack moved across to the UK he seemed to think that swimming the channel was something every Londoner aspired to do. Of course, I knew it wasn’t like that but where I was a bit naïve was in thinking you could just turn up and dive in at Dover.

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“When the protocols were pointed out we said ‘right, what do we have to do, how can we become a vehicle for good making our clubs, our families and the swimming community proud?' Our beneficiaries are Ukrainian Refugee Crisis (Jack is of Ukrainian heritage) and Cancer Research UK and the planning started in earnest when we settled on our five strong relay squad aiming to challenge a record time of eight hours 32 minutes.

Jordan Dunn,  Jack Blyzinskyj, Ross McWhirter and Dan Wallace with Harrison Haines missing the photo-call.Jordan Dunn,  Jack Blyzinskyj, Ross McWhirter and Dan Wallace with Harrison Haines missing the photo-call.
Jordan Dunn, Jack Blyzinskyj, Ross McWhirter and Dan Wallace with Harrison Haines missing the photo-call.

“The fact we are going for a record has added excitement but to gain a permit we each had to undergo a medical and undertake a two hour qualification open water swim in under 16 degrees without a wet suit. I took my test at Lake Windermere as it is reckoned to be slightly warmer although much of my training has been done in the River Forth, Foxlake Adventure Park, East Lothian, and a reservoir in the Pentland Hills.

“This is a world apart from pool swimming but we can still draw upon similar principles. For example, as high performance pool swimmers (Ross is an elite Scottish and GB triathlete while Jordan is a Scotland team member) we are used to coping with adversity and showing resilience in a tough sport.

“I actually thought the book was closed on competitive swimming for me but in February I took part in the Scottish cold water championships and maybe I have a future there besides wanting to swim across the River Forth and around the Bass Rock!”

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It's a far cry from the halcyon day in 2014 when North Berwick-based Dan struck Commonwealth gold in the 400metre individual medley in Glasgow. “We have been assigned a pilot who will help us determine the right time to take the challenge within a designated window of June 9-15. Checks will have to be made on currents, swells etc – and there is heavy shipping traffic to take into account.

“You can prepare and swim really well but if conditions are against you it won’t count for anything in terms of the record. But if conditions and the tide are on our side we could better the world record.”

The intrepid quartet have already raised around £100,000 and for more information and to donate go to – a title based on the fact the swimmers hope to raise £10 for each metre of the channel covered.

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