Six young Australian men, including four graduates from The University of Western Australia, are planning to swim 34km across the English Channel in July to raise funds for a charity that is close to their hearts.
Based at Oxford University where they are studying for doctorates, the men aim to raise funds for two charities: the Women and Infants Research Foundation at King Edward Memorial Hospital in Perth and the Fund for Children at the Oxford Radcliffe Hospital in the UK.
The UWA graduates include Laith Tapper, the only team member with long distance open-water swimming experience; 2006 Australian Rhodes Scholar Scott Draper; 2007 WA Rhodes Scholar Travers McLeod; and 2006 General Sir John Monash Award winner Hsien Chan.
The other team members are Sydney University graduate and 2007 Australian Rhodes Scholar Eric Knight and West Australian-born Michael Molinari, a University of Melbourne graduate and British Chevening-Oxford Australia Scholarship recipient.
Three team members have links to King Edward Memorial Hospital, including Mr Draper whose three-year-old daughter Holly spent four months in the hospital's special care nursery after being born at 23 weeks. Mr Molinari's sister and Mr McLeod's mother are also undertaking PhD projects linked to the neonatal unit.
Mr Tapper has completed the Rottnest Channel swim twice: first as part of a four-member team in 2008 and as a duo with his sister last year.
The men plan to tackle the 34km swim on the first spring tide in July (11th-18th) non-stop and unaided across the English Channel, entering at Dover and emerging at Calais. The aim is to take the traditional approach and swim in trunks, using animal fat to keep warm and rely on a pilot boat to guide them through one of the world's busiest shipping routes, which carries more than 400 ships each day.
Each swimmer will complete at least two legs each, which they estimate will take an hour if they maintain a speed of around 3km an hour, while battling 15C water and big spring tides that can travel at up to 7.5km an hour.
For more details visit: http://aussieenglishchannelswim2010.blogspot.com/p/our-team.html or to make a donation go to: http://www.mycause.com.au/mycause/raise_money/fundraise.php?id=4934
Scott Draper (+44) 0794 244 2318 (mobile) / (+44) 01865 554 376 (home)
Janine MacDonald (UWA Public Affairs) (+61 8) 6488 5563 / (+61 4) 32 637 716