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Welsh swimmer raises over £5000 for NHS after 21-mile swim in endless pool

A Welsh swim coach has raised over £5000 for the NHS after swimming 21 miles in his endless pool.

Dave Tonge, 38, from Cardiff, swim the 21 miles in 10 hours and 15 minutes, with 5-minute breaks in-between each mile, totalling 12 hours and 15 minutes, which is the average length of a shift for a doctor or nurse.

“My wife is a health visitor and nurse working full time. My sister, auntie and close friends are also NHS workers, so I thought, if I can raise a few hundred pounds, then I’d be doing my bit,” he said.

Dave had initially hoped to raise £100 for the swim, but before he had even started, he had managed to raise over £2000 through his JustGiving page.

After the swim, the total had reached £3700, and by the next morning Dave had raised over £5000.

“I feel like I have done my bit,” he said. “I just feel proud to have done it.”

Dave Tonge 2

Dave used a countdown clock on an iPad and an underwater pacer to calculate the distance he had covered

Dave was supported in the challenge by his wife Charlotte, and son, who gave Dave his drink and feed every half an hour and updated his twitter page with his progress throughout the day.

After each mile completed in his endless pool, Dave also switched to a different swimming hat that he had collected over the years of competing in events to keep motivated.

“Every mile it was something to look forward to,” he said. “Have a feed, change my hat, have a drink and go again with a different colour hat on.”

Dave has a strong background in swimming, competing up to national level for Cardiff Swimming Club and is now a full-time coach. He said that despite only swimming a maximum of 12 miles in one go before the challenge, he found the swim more mentally than physically challenging.

“When you are swimming in the sea and doing long swims, you get to interact and see the sights when swimming. In the endless pool, it is sort of mind-boggling. It was mentally draining. I had a few screaming into the water moments,” he said.

Dave has since said that if he manages to hit £6000, then he will do it all over again and “swim back from France even quicker”.

You can donate to Dave’s JustGiving page by following this link:

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