A former Heanor Gate school pupil has just completed an incredible fundraising swim across ten lakes in Canada – and next year plans to swim the Channel.
Paul Duffield emigrated to Kelowna, British Columbia, after marrying his wife, Angelique, in 2009, and fell in love with open water swimming set against the spectacular scenery.
His eight-mile marathon along the Okanagan Valley lasted nearly 15 hours and raised money for the YMCA Strong Kids Campaign, but the endurance test began on a whim. Paul, 43, said: “I was sitting by Seton Lake near Lillooet, the battery on my iPod was dead and I had finished reading my book. I found myself daydreaming and wondering how many lakes could I swim in one day. Five? Seven? Ten? ‘Okay. Ten is a nice number, let’s go for ten.’”
He has written about the feat on his blog Nothing Great is Easy, noting some of the highlights of his journey: “Swimming through my bubbles in Shannon Lake. The bike ride into Rose Valley. The cold water and high cliff face of Gallagher Lake... The place where I discovered and fell in love with open water swimming only three short years ago.”
He began swimming seriously in 2006 to lose weight and is now in training to swim the Channel next year. He said: “Our English Channel coach, Brent, has always spoken about a spiritual connection he has with the surroundings while swimming in open water. I now appreciate what he means.”
Proud dad Trevor Duffield, of Julie Avenue, Heanor, said: “He’s a natural swimmer. When his younger brother jumped on me in a swimming pool in Lewes and started ducking me, Paul jumped in and helped me!”