English Channel swimmer prepares in Wicksteed Lake

Robert Farrow from Kettering has been practising for his charity cross-Channel swim in Wicksteed Park lake

Robert Farrow from Kettering has been practising for his charity cross-Channel swim in Wicksteed Park lake

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A swimmer is using Wicksteed Park’s lake to train as he prepares to swim the Channel for charity.

Robert Farrow, 27, of Kettering, is putting in the hours as he gets himself ready for the water-based challenge.

Robert Farrow has been swimming in the Wicksteed Park lake to prepare for his English Channel swim. He is pictured here at Dover in June, before his swim.

Robert Farrow has been swimming in the Wicksteed Park lake to prepare for his English Channel swim. He is pictured here at Dover in June, before his swim.

Most people conquer the Channel in about 12 hours, and he is working up to this with swims of six or seven hours at Dover.

Robert said: “I saw David Walliams doing the Channel swim and I thought it’d be great to do the same.

“I got into doing a few triathlons and realised I was better at the swimming than a lot of the other people, that’s how I got into it.

“I will be on standby and ready to go at a moment’s notice. My slot is in September, but I feel I’ll be ready in six weeks.”

He was swimming through the winter, but the real training kicked in at the start of April. And while carrying out contract work at Wicksteed Park, bosses said he could use the lake to practice.

Robert said: “I am very grateful to Wicksteed Park, I couldn’t believe my luck when they said I could train in the lake.”

He will be covered in vaseline during the swim to stop chafing, and will be trying to avoid the jellyfish, sewage and passing boats.

He said: “The best strategy is just to swim, swim and swim and eat your food as quickly as possible.

“I know it’s not always going to be nice when I’m doing it, but there’s no point going into it with doubt.”

But added: “I have this feeling of nervous energy. It’s something you almost don’t want to do but once you’re in the water, you want to do it.”

Robert is raising money for Wellingborough charity Crazy Hats and the Dyspraxia Foundation, a national charity supporting people like Robert who have the disorder.

Crazy Hats founder Glennis Hooper said: “Having someone swim the Channel is certainly a first for Crazy Hats and we truly admire his courage and we are so grateful for his continued support for our charity.

“Swimming the Channel is not just a question of turning up to swim; it is a huge undertaking that takes months of planning and preparation.

“Robert, at his own expense, travels to Dover every weekend to practise and, more recently, has been using the revamped lake at Wicksteed Park to train in which, in itself, is quite unique.

“He even told me that having been stung by jellyfish has not put him off.”