From Ned Wieland, a Year 10 student and aspiring English Channel swimmer
My dream to swim the English Channel came to me when I was 12 years old. It all happened after an ocean swim I did on the Central Coast. After the swim, Lachie Hinds (a champion open water swimmer) who was 17 years old at the time came up to me and said, “well done mate. You could be a very good ocean swimmer if you keep this up.” We started to talk and he told me of the time he completed the English Channel swim when he was 16. He spoke about it not only being physically tough but also mentally tough. At the time I only had a brief idea about the English Channel. Lachie said the distance was about 33km but with all the currents and swell, the actual distance you swim is a lot further.
When I was 13 I began to complete longer and longer swims with the English Channel still in the back of my mind. Every time I saw Lachie at a swim I would talk to him about the Channel. I completed my first long distance swim at 13 years from Bondi to Watsons Bay (12km). I swam for Xavier Slezak, a Waverley College friend who was battling leukaemia. Thanks to many people who made generous donations, I was able to raise $13,000 for the Leukaemia Foundation.
Each year I have done the Bondi to Watson’s Bay swim. In 2016, I raised money for Beyond Blue after I lost a close friend to depression. This loss really impacted the North Bondi Surf Club and all those who knew him.
It wasn’t until mid last year that I decided to finally swim the English Channel. My dad took me around to some of the people he knew who had swum the Channel. The first person I met, was Dori Miller, a Bondi lifesaver, who did a double crossing at her third attempt. Dad asked her to talk about the Channel and spare no gruelling details. Dad thought I would come away from the chat with no interest to swim the Channel – he was wrong! We started meeting up with other Channel swimmers and one that stood out to me was Cyril Baldock. Cyril is the oldest Australian male to swim the Channel at 72 years of age. Cyril has been my mentor through my training.
Dad and I soon found ourselves booking airfares and dates to swim the Channel. I thought this swim would be a great opportunity to raise funds for R U OK?
R U OK? is a charity I feel really close to and a charity that is strongly supported by Waverley College. R U OK? is doing a really important job of raising awareness for mental health by encouraging people to talk about how they feel.
From the Head of Quinn House, Ms Olivia Kite
Quinn House and the wider Waverley College community are supporting Ned in his gallant effort to swim the English Channel in July this year by swimming the English Channel with him.
Ned will begin his swim on his 16th birthday and will be the youngest Australian male to complete the swim. Ned believes he is taking on this enormous feat not only for himself: “Swimming makes me happy … and I want other teenagers to understand there are lots of ways to feel happy”.
On Friday 10 March, Quinn House students will meet at the College Pool (7.30am) to swim 640 laps alongside Ned. These laps equate to the minimum distance (32km) that Ned will swim in July. Students have been asked to volunteer to swim four laps and make a $5 donation to Ned’s appeal. Those students who make a donation and swim alongside Ned will enjoy a BBQ Breakfast on the morning of Monday 13 March.
If you would like to donate to Ned’s appeal, please do so via his Every Day Hero account: https://give.everydayhero.com/au/ned-s-english-channel-swim-for-ru-ok