In September 2023 one of our King’s Alumni, Jonny Ratcliffe (2010) will be taking on the biggest physical challenge of his life – swimming across The English Channel. Jonny is undertaking this immense challenge to support Stonewall, a UK charity that works and campaigns for the freedom, equity and potential of all LGBTQ+ people.
Jonny was always a keen swimmer during his time at King’s and was a member of the Macclesfield Satellites and Cheshire County swim teams. His focus on swimming waned during his later years in education, but following an operation on his back in May 2020, Jonny was prescribed swimming as a rehabilitation exercise, and his love for the sport was reborn.
Jonny joined a swim club in Hackney, London and was quickly enlisted to join the team specialising in marathon and open water swimming. In May 2022 they convinced him to commence training in order to attempt “The Everest of swimming”!
Since then, Jonny has swum between 20km and 30km a week. His training has taken him to a swim camp in Croatia for cold water acclimatisation and to complete a qualifying 6hr swim. At its peak, his training hit 75km in a single week! Earlier in June he competed in the Dover Champion of Champions open water event, placing 2nd in a 15km race, narrowly missing out to an ex GB swimmer.
For the English Channel swim Jonny will be adhering to the strict rules set by the Channel Swimming Association (CSA). Wearing only a swim cap, goggles and a pair of classic Speedo’s on the day he will be accompanied by a support boat for his coaches. Touching the boat will result in disqualification. The boat will be fitted with a tracker and supporters will receive a link so that they can follow Jonny’s progress. He is hoping to finish the swim in an ambitious 10 hours, but this will be hugely dependent upon the tides and weather.
“At 32km, the English Channel is known as “The Everest of Swimming” and is among the most challenging open water swims in the world. Aside from the distance, I will face cold waters, unpredictable weather, jellyfish and deceptively strong tides...
As part of this, I’ve set myself the challenge of raising £2,000 for Stonewall, one of the UK’s foremost charities supporting LGBTQ+ rights. Stonewall imagines a world where all LGBTQ+ people are free to be ourselves and can live our lives to the full.
Any donation from the King’s Alumni Network will be hugely appreciated and motivating as I prepare for the big swim…
If you would like to support Jonny and this great cause please visit his Just Giving page https://www.justgiving.com/page/jonny-ratcliffe-1687880490493