4 August, 2015 - A group of six women will attempt to break the World Record for a three-way crossing of the English Channel on August 22 on behalf of Unicef, the world’s leading children’s organisation and the British Heart Foundation.

In 2013, the Andy’s Channel Ladies swim team broke the World Record for the fastest two-way crossing of the channel, completing the swim in 18 hours, 13 minutes. But now they want to go one step further in breaking the three-way crossing World Record, raising money for their chosen charities in the process.

Unicef is a charity that is close to their hearts after one team member, Jane McCormick was chosen to be a part of the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony, during which a global TV audience came together to raise money for Unicef’s work for children in danger. Jane travelled to Papua New Guinea to see how Unicef is helping children who live in remote villages to get access to vaccinations. 

Jane explained: “'The amazing work that Unicef do has inspired me to raise money and awareness so that they can continue to give children a better start in life.”

Talking about the challenge ahead of them, swimmer Katie Birchall, explained how the team will be “swimming through the night in total darkness with a lack of sleep, stinging jellyfish and floating debris in the busiest shipping lane in the world.” 

“The water temperatures can be between 12 and 17 degrees and no wetsuits are allowed, so we have to swim in standard costumes – and the 63 miles is a minimum. Because of the tides we will end up swimming further.”

Despite this “the amazing camaraderie and team spirit” that the team experienced on the two-way crossing in 2013 is what will keep them going. Katie explained that “as tough as it was the last swim was an amazing experience, we swam with a pod of dolphins and while the sun was rising. It was quite special really and with a lot of arm twisting and persuading each other we knew it was possible to attempt the three way record.”

With the current three-way record for crossing the channel currently standing at 30 hours and 31 minutes, the team have been training hard to prepare for the swim braving cold mornings in the Liverpool Docks. But Katie added that “it will all be worth it when we see the white cliffs of Dover and meet our friends and family in the port. Of course there will hopefully be that added bonus of breaking the World Record.”

Throughout the challenge each team member will swim for an hour before handing over to their team mate to do the next hour, repeating this process until they finally finish back in Dover. 

The team has a wealth of swimming experience with a number of Gold medals, World Championship titles and Olympic performances behind them but this swim will certainly be one of the toughest challenges they have all faced. 

For more information and to support the Andy’s Channel Ladies team please visit http://www.justgiving.com/teams/andyschannelladiesrecordattempt

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Notes for editors:

For further information please contact the Unicef UK Press Office on +44 (0)20 7375 6030 or media@unicef.org.uk

About Unicef

Unicef is the world’s leading organisation for children, promoting the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.  

Unicef UK raises funds to protect children in danger, transform their lives and build a safer world for tomorrow’s children.  As a registered charity we raise funds through donations from individuals, organisations and companies and we lobby and campaign to keep children safe. Unicef UK also runs programmes in schools, hospitals and with local authorities in the UK. For more information please visit unicef.org.uk 

About Andy’s Ladies Swim Team

Katie Birchall, 33, from Ormskirk, Lancashire, currently holds the masters British Record for 100m backstroke, and won two Gold medals at the masters World Championships in Gothenburg 2010 and Italy 2012 as well as silver and bronze. She qualified for the 2010 Commonwealth and 2012 London Olympic Trials, narrowly missing qualifying for the final by 0.2 seconds. Katie has swum the length of Coniston and Wastwater, and completed her first open water 10k in 2012.

Dee Llewellyn, 36, from Bradford, has successfully completed a solo Channel swim. She has also completed Loch Lomond, Loch Ness and Windermere 2 way (21 miles). In 2009 Dee had a stroke and was found to have a hole in her heart. She was unable to compete that year but helped train her sister for a successful 2 way Channel swim. Dee had a heart operation that year and made a speedy recovery - in 2011 she was part of a Windermere '12 way' relay team that broke the World Record for the longest ever fresh water swim, completing in 75hrs 32 mins.

Jane McCormick, 33 from Fenwick, East Ayrshire, Scotland, now living in Manchester has successfully completed a solo Channel swim, Loch Lomond and round Manhattan Island (28 miles). She had a baby boy (Archie) 12 weeks before the team's World Record swim in 2013 (swimming 10k on the day her waters broke and then 50km a week after giving birth!) Diagnosed with a blockage in her heart a number of years ago and told she would never reach her full potential in any sport, Jane proves that you can achieve anything you set your mind to. Jane McCormick was chosen to be a part of the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony, during which a global TV audience came together to raise money for Unicef’s work for children in danger. 

Lucy Lloyd-Roach, 31 from Birmingham, now living in Manchester, is a swimming teacher and coach. In 2012 she was part of a number of masters relay teams in the pool, breaking several World Records. She currently holds the masters British Record for 200m butterfly in her age group. Lucy has won a bronze medal in the World Masters Championships and was No.1 in the masters FINA World rankings for butterfly in 2013 and 2014. She also completed 3 miles butterfly in an open water race in the Liverpool docks as a unique challenge!

Emma Ross, 29, from Livingston, Near Edinburgh, Scotland, currently living in Leeds, has completed a number of open water swims including Loch Rannoch (15km), The Solent, the Firth of Forth and Lochore Meadows. Last year she was a member of a 6 person team that took part in the 'Channel swim in Manchester' event, held at Salford Quays. The team shared the 36km distance, starting at midnight and swam through the night which was good practice for our swim in August! Emma won four bronze medals in the masters European Championships in the Ukraine in 2011. She has also been part of a number of masters relay teams who have broken European and World Records.

Natalie Massey, 26, from Stockport, Manchester, has been coached by her father since the age of 12, and from 2009 to 2012 was part of the Paralympics GB team (S14 category) representing the UK in many International competitions. She currently holds Paralympic World Records in both the 400m freestyle and 100m Individual Medley. She has won Gold, Silver and Bronze medals in the European Championships. Natalie has represented GB in 2 World Championships and also the London 2012 Paralympics!