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Aerin Swims the English Channel

Aerin Kelly Bowers

A Jumpstart Canada Fundraiser

Hi Friends,

During the week of September 23-29 this year, I will attempt to swim across the English Channel. Following the Channel Swimming Association Rules, I’ll wear only my bathing suit, swim cap, and goggles. The swim will take me from England to France, covering approximately 35 kilometers. I estimate it will take between 12 to 16 hours. I’ll have a support boat navigating the shipping lanes, feeding me every half hour, and encouraging me to swim faster. :)

This swim is the realization of a dream I've had for many years. As a youngster, I was an exceptionally mediocre swimmer, but I thrived in the swim club community. Training and competing gave me goals to focus on, opportunities to travel and learn, and lifelong friendships. After a long break, I returned to swimming in 2013 for the swim leg of a sprint triathlon with friends. I rediscovered my love for the sport, particularly open water, and began signing up for as many events as I could find. I’ve swum races in Canada, the US, Sweden, and the UK. Gradually, I increased my distances up to 12 km events and then completed the 26 km Lake Zurich Marathon Swim in 2022. And once I'd swam for 11 hours and still loved it, I figured I could go even further.

And now, here I am, just weeks away from the biggest swim of my life. I wouldn’t be here without the tremendous support I’ve received along the way from friends and family who have paddled for me, boated alongside me, let me stay at their cabins, offered their time and energy, fed me, watched me barf and didn't laugh,. You gave coaching, mentoring, and generous help. Now is the time for me to give back.

Why Jumpstart? I am privileged to have participated in sports since I was a child. My parents were passionate about athletics and kept me and my sister busy and active, driving us to countless activities while working full-time jobs. They tirelessly volunteered to cover the costs, doing everything from timing at meets, writing newsletters, coaching, to baking for the concessions and paying for the M&Ms we didn't have time to sell. We swam, danced, and skied, and played volleyball, basketball, softball, and soccer. My dad, who passed away in 2019, was a lifelong advocate for physical education. He dedicated his entire teaching career to equity in opportunity for kids in sports. Many benefited from his efforts, but perhaps none as much as me. Fundraising for this swim is a way to honor my parents’ efforts and contribute to helping kids stay involved in the sports they love.

Please join me in supporting Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities. Jumpstart helps kids facing financial and accessibility barriers access sports and play. Since 2005, they’ve helped over 2.4 million kids across Canada get involved in activities like swimming, soccer, hockey, and ballet.

You can support me by clicking the “donate” button to make a secure online donation. Together, we can help kids learn new skills, build confidence, and boost their self-esteem through activities in their communities. Every dollar you donate helps them get into the game and motivates me to make it to France!

The halfway point in my qualifying swim - 3 hours in!

Map from my Qualifying Swim

Swimming the 26 km Sri Chinmoy Lake Zurich Swim in 2022

Yesterday I completed my 6 hour official qualifier swim! All swimmers must swim for at least 6 hours continuously in water that is a maximum temperature of 16 degrees C. It was a great day on Okanagan Lake with my awesome support team!


raised of $10,000 goal

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