Grazier prepares for mammoth UK swim

Far West grazier Brendan Cullen will swim the English Channel on July 28.

Far West resident Brendan Cullen says he will have peace of mind when he attempts a mammoth swim of the English Channel next month.

Mr Cullen will jet off to the UK to take on a challenge he has been training towards for the past four years.

He plans to swim a 34km distance in below 20-degree water from Dover heading to French shores on July 28.

“I have no expectations, but if I am able to complete it, that will be huge,” Mr Cullen said. “I certainly will be able to live with that fact if I don’t make it.”

The grazier from Kars station, 65kms south-east of Broken Hill, qualified for this opportunity after completing a swim of Port Phillip Bay in Victoria.

He has received coaching from experienced open water swimmer Michael Gregory, who presented the original idea.

Mr Cullen has averaged 20-25kms per week and clocked up lengthy swims during training.

“I’ve done a couple of six-to-eight-hour swims,” he said. “Wherever I can find water every second day, I’m in it.

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“I’ve been able to get used to cold water as the temperature drops in winter.”

He has used his backyard pool, dams, the Broken Hill Regional Aquatic Centre and the Menindee Lakes.

“There are a few spots I go to jump in,” Mr Cullen said. “Especially in winter it’s got me prepared to deal with choppy water.

“It’s been good in normalising cold water before going to England.”

The swim of the English Channel could take him an estimated 16 to 18 hours to complete.

Mr Cullen will be accompanied by a support crew aboard a charter boat for the entirety of the attempt.

“I’m not allowed to touch the boat,” he said. “They will throw a line with a container (of food) from the boat.”

The Lifeline ambassador will also aim to promote the organisation’s services and expects to share a fundraising page online in the lead to his experience.

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Mr Cullen is eager to raise awareness for mental health, a cause that he is passionate about.

“The organisation means a lot to me,” he said.

“Peer support is huge and I’m glad to be a part of that. There will be some attachment to my swim.”

He appreciates all the support he has received from his family, friends, coach, the Broken Hill YMCA and the Broken Hill Aquatic Stingrays.

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