An Air Cadet is set to swim the English Channel this week.
Anna Hulme, 18, of 1026 (Ormskirk) Squadron Air Training Corps is in a squad set to swim the Channel to mark the 75th anniversary of the RAF Air Cadets.
Anna, who was in the team to complete the swim last year is joining the second squad which due to poor weather had its swim postponed but is now ready to brave jelly fish and choppy water in the relay swim of 21 miles.
With sheer determination she said: “Swimming the channel last year was without doubt the best thing I have ever done in my life. I feel very privileged to have been asked for a second time to represent the RAF Air Cadets Cross Channel Swim Team and we’re all hopeful the second squad will complete the challenge. I am looking forward to being part of this attempt and I just can’t wait to get into the water!”
Anna has been training hard over the winter with pool swimming and, as a triathlete, has also maintained fitness through cycling and running sessions. She gets involved in many of the Air Cadet sporting opportunities, which she says helps. She is currently focusing on open water sessions and does most of her training in and around her home of Liverpool. Anna has also travelled to the Lake District on several occasions to swim. Many of the triathlons she has competed in involve an open water swim which she says is intense and gruelling training.
The first team who completed the 21-mile swim last year recorded 11 hours 40 minutes and have set a benchmark for this year. Though it is expected to take upwards of 12 hours in the slightly warmer waters of the month of August, thanks to a generous donation from Nidaria Technology Ltd of their famous sunscreen which includes protection against jellyfish stings our swimmers will have added confidence in the water.
Commandant Air Cadets, Air Commodore Dawn McCafferty said: “I was thrilled and hugely impressed to see our first team of air cadets and volunteer staff swim the Channel last year to mark the 75th anniversary of the RAF Air Cadets.
“However, weather conditions meant that the second squad, who had trained just as hard as the first squad, didn’t get the chance to attempt the swim.
“Such was their determination and team ethos, however, they asked if they could defer the swim until this year and have been training hard in the interim.
“I will keep everything crossed that the weather and tides are kinder this year and that this intrepid team will manage to swim to France, completing the original challenge in style.”
The support team once again is led by Squadron Leader Sam Pearman who has been busy putting together a not too taxing programme of events for what she describes as ‘the big wait’, with some sea training to maintain fitness and team spirit.
Once again the swim will be adjudicated by an observer from the Channel Swimming Association to ensure that all rules are followed for the event to be officially recognised.
Air Vice-Marshal David Murray, Controller of the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund, said: “Anna is a shining example to the Air Training Corps and fellow Cadets in her Squadron. The RAF Benevolent Fund is delighted to support the Cadets in this endeavour and we thank them for volunteering their time to support the Fund over the years. Good luck to all taking part!”
More information about the RAF Air Cadets, including how to join, can be found at www.raf.mod.uk/aircadets