SPRING TWP., Pa. - One Wyomissing man plans to swim the English Channel, all in the name of charity.
Tom Bell has been training for two years, six days a week, to swim the 20-mile passage between England and France.
"It can be pretty challenging, particularly for somebody like myself who does not have a strong swimming background," Bell said.
Bell first got the idea to swim the channel nearly two years ago when he heard that one of his wife's residents at the Temple University orthodontic program had done so in a relay.
"When I heard this, it sort of inspired me to ask a little bit more about what it would be like to swim the channel," Bell said.
Bell soon found out it would be a challenge. You need to contract a boat to escort you across the channel, the water temperature is in the low 60s and you are not allowed to ever touch the boat or wear a wet suit.
With the current, the 20-mile course could become closer to 25 miles, and Bell said he expects it to take him about 14 hours to complete.
"There are several major challenges. One is the distance, but another one is hypothermia."
But Bell said he is up for the challenge because he is doing it to raise money for the IM ABLE Foundation, which works to promote an active lifestyle for people with disabilities.
"Really. some of my fondest memories are from sports, so it is really nice to help an organization that would also enable others to get that same enjoyment," said Bell.
To learn more about the foundation or to donate to in Bell's name, you can go to his online fundraising page.
Bell is planning his swim for on or around Sept. 15.
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