Plucky Alex, 9, swims the English Channel -- twice!

Young swimmer Alex Taylor, who swam the equivalent of the English Channel, and more in the Aspire Challenge.
Young swimmer Alex Taylor, who swam the equivalent of the English Channel, and more in the Aspire Challenge.
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A plucky boy from Hucknall has swum a distance twice the length of the English Channel to raise hundreds of pounds for charity.

Although he was only nine years old, Alex Taylor thought nothing of signing up to the Aspire Swimming Challenge when he saw an advert for it at Hucknall Leisure Centre.

The idea behind the challenge was to swim the equivalent of the channel, 22 miles, or 1,416 lengths, inside 12 weeks at the leisure centre pool.

But after more than 50 sessions, Alex accumulated a staggering total of 44.5 miles and a total of 2,870 lengths, raising £546.

“We are so proud of his achievement, and we would like to say thanks to everyone who sponsored him,” said dad Geoff Taylor from the family home on Annies Close.

“In one session, he swam 80 lengths in under 50 minutes! There were lads of 19 and 20 who couldn’t keep up. I don’t know where he gets his energy from.”

Alex, who goes to Holgate Primary School, raised the money mainly through sponsorship on a JustGiving page online. It will go to people who have been paralysed by spinal cord injury, providing them with essential equipment, advice and grants to help them live independently.

A total of 5,489 swimmers at pools across the UK tackled the challenge, which raised £580,000 the previous year. Alex was one of the youngest to take part, but finished in 87th position nationwide for the total distance covered. He was also 134th on the leaderboard for the amount of money generated.

To recognise his achievement, the organisers of the Aspire Challenge sent him a certificate and a medal, while the sponsors, swimwear suppliers Zoggs, are to send him a swimming holdall.

Alex is a member of Hucknall Falcon Swimmking Club, and dad Geoff attributes Alex’s swimming prowess to the coaches there. “They are second to none,” he said. “Alex just gets stronger and stronger.”