One Namibian Taking on the Channel for Others
Namibian businessman and entrepreneur, Bruce Salt, is about to attempt to swim the English Channel. If he were to succeed, it would make him the first Namibian man to do so. But he is not doing it for fame and it’s not been an easy process either.
The Ultimate Swim for a Noble Cause
The swim across the English Channel is considered to be the ultimate long distance and endurance challenge, not only because of the distance, but also because of the variable conditions the swimmers have to deal with in one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world. Swimming the English Channel takes approximately 14 hours to complete: 14 hours of constant swimming in what can be waves of up to two metres, dodging shipping vessels, jelly fish and litter, all in freezing cold ocean waters.
Yet, Bruce has strong motivation. He is setting off on this epic journey in honour of his older brother Neil, who succumbed to lymphoma in 2011. Bruce’s challenge will help raise funds for the Cancer Care Namibia Fund, so that the families of people diagnosed with cancer in Namibia are able to support their loved ones.
99FM’s MYD Heart sat down with Bruce to talk about the massive challenge that he’s about to face. “I’m feeling nervous, but training is done, so now it’s all down to the weather” says Bruce, who has trained almost every day for a year. “It’s been a long year and the focus has been totally on swimming; I’ve done 850 kilometres this year with the biggest week being 37.5 kilometres.”
A strong Motivation
The drive behind this swim is raising money for the fund that was established after the passing of Bruce’s brother, Neil. “My brother was someone who liked to help people, more so undercover (he didn’t usually tell people). Once you have someone you know or love affected by cancer you realise how many people are affected by cancer.”
“With Neil’s passing, we saw that he had to go to South Africa a lot; for consultations, for chemotherapy, etc. We were able to be there, to support him, but saw that there were a lot of people who didn’t have any support. In his passing, Neil left a substantial amount of money to start this fund. To support the families of people with cancer. To make sure there is someone there while you are going through this traumatic experience. Then we, being Hochland 154 Round Table , thought about how to grow this fund and make sure that it can continue. So far we have assisted 20 Namibian families with this fund.”
Bruce says that the Cancer Care Namibia Fund works closely with the newly opened Oncology Centre in Windhoek who now refer cases directly to the Fund as well.
A beautiful metaphor for what the patients go through without the support of their families during their difficult times: the open-water swim that Bruce is about to embark on is one that he has to swim completely alone.
What it Takes to Make it
“You have a lot of time to think while you’re out there. You swim for half an hour and then you are allowed to tread water and have something to eat and drink but then you continue swimming again. The rules are that you are only allowed to wear a speedo, goggles and a cap, along with what they call “channel grease”, which is like Vaseline. That helps with friction and with warmth in sea water that is about 17 degrees. You also start with your feet out of the water on the one side of the channel and only once your feet are out of the water on the other side do they stop the clock. In between you’re on your own.”
“What I am doing is a bit extreme; there is no balance in it. I do enjoy it, but not the distance and time I’ve been doing. It’s six or seven days a week of training. It’s been quite a challenge, and ideally, I am a person that prefers balance. Without balance, you are isolated. If you are only focused on one area of your life, you don’t get to see all the other areas.”
Bruce faced additional challenges in training for this achievement, “I have not got very strong shoulders, so I’ve had to go through lots of physiotherapy and biokinetics etc, to strengthen my stabilizers. I have had to focus on every single stroke. For someone who hasn’t really got the body for swimming, this shows that everything is possible, you just need focus and to show up.”
A Dream to Inspire
That’s what Bruce hopes to inspire in Namibia with this swim, “the knowledge that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. You just have to show up and then things get done. This swim should demonstrate that everything is possible.”
Bruce will attempt to swim the English Channel on the 27th or 28th of September 2016. “For now I did as much as I could; now it’s all down to the weather and my body. We’ll take it there and see what happens.”
Thanks to Flying Fish’s donation, all the costs have been covered for Bruce’s swim, which means that all funds raised will go straight to the Cancer Care Namibia Fund.
Trackers fitted to boats that follow the swimmers through the channel will allow anyone to follow Bruce’s journey while he is in the water. To follow Bruce’s journey Like either the Hochland 154 Round Table Facebook page or the Cancer Care Namibia Facebook Page.
If you would like to support the cause by making a donation, you can do so via the following link : English Channel Crossing for Cancer Namibia.
If you or someone you love needs the assistance of the Cancer Care Namibia Fund, send an email to mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org for an application form.