In at the deep end

14th June 2019

Doncaster trainee triathlete Simon Wade is so keen to raise money for meningitis that he’s using YouTube videos to teach himself to swim

Simon Wade triathlon fundraising challenge

Simon, who works in London but returns frequently to his home city, was already a keen runner when he took on the challenge and said he wasn’t daunted by the cycling part of the event. 

But when it came to the swimming, he knew he needed a bit of extra help. 

“Although 1,500m doesn’t sound like a long way, think again,” he said. “This leg of the triathlon is done in an open lake – therefore front crawl is the only stroke that makes sense."

“Now, the problem with this realisation is that at the tender age of eight when I learnt to swim, I only learnt breaststroke and backstroke… so now I have to learn how to do front crawl.”

In memory of Lily

Simon is competing in the Woburn Abbey triathlon in September to raise money for Meningitis Now in memory of a friend’s granddaughter, Lily Teale, who was 10 months old when she died in November 2017. 

Simon said, “The triathlon is not only a great opportunity to raise awareness of meningitis, but it will also be a monumental personal challenge for me."

“As a long-time runner, I am more used to taking on running challenges when it comes to fundraising," he said.

“However, for my 2019 charity challenge I wanted something a little more exciting / nerve-racking. Enter the idea of attempting a triathlon – a long time bucket list event for me.”

Simon knew he could cope with the running part and went on a mini spending spree to get kitted up for the 44km cycling part. However, it was the swimming part of the challenge that really unnerved him.

“After watching numerous YouTube tutorials from swimming coaches and Olympic swimmers I am well versed in the varieties of the stroke in theory,” he said.

“The practice goes slightly differently. Currently the furthest I can swim doing freestyle without stopping is one length of a regular pool; when I reach the other end of the pool I seem to have lost years of running fitness and am exhausted hanging on to the edge.”

“It is now when the scale of my challenge hits home. I consider myself relatively fit – however, in swimming terms I am easily outdone by a seven-year-old who is half my size!”

You can support Simon through his JustGiving page.

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