Swim22: it’s a family affair – by Nick Buglione

Why am I Nick-pool2here?
I am standing dripping wet in Brixton Recreation Centre’s chilly changing rooms wondering quite how this happened? There I was a few weeks back sitting in a meeting at Diabetes UK HQ talking about the charity’s big Spring fundraising and fitness promotion, Swim22 and, before I knew it, I have volunteered to ‘swim the Channel’, have a slightly embarrassing photo shoot in the local Kentish Town pool and now metaphorically, I am on the beach at Dover armed only with a pair of goggles, swimming trunks and a new gadget – an underwater MP3 player.

Of course I know why I am here. I’m here to raise funds for Diabetes UK. But if I am honest, that’s not the only motivation. It’s a great excuse to shake myself out of my middle-class, middle-aged torpor and make some small steps towards a brand new me – fitter, at less risk of whatever we call a beer belly for red wine drinkers and (rare for me) a sense of physical achievement.
Right now though, I’m just cold and wet.

A Family Affairgirls
So the first smart move I made was recruiting the wife and kids. Why? Because 22 miles – 1416 lengths to be precise, takes some fitting in round work, school runs, the weekly shop and chauffeuring children to endless sleepovers and parties.

Because it’s a bit lonely ploughing all those lengths single-handed, and because I don’t do nearly enough with the family. So as well as my solo early mornings and evenings, we hit the pool together every Saturday morning, and then treat ourselves to a victory Brixton brunch (judging by this weekend, it’s a victory to persuade my son into the pool at all!).

It’s great doing this as part of a team, but there’s also a sneaky marketing ploy at play – I have little doubt we will raise more money round their efforts – at school, with their godparents, grannies and grandmas. I’m not sure Dad is worth £1000 all by himself.

As we speak, ’The Bugliones’ are nudging 10% of our £1,000 target, but we’ve only dipped our toes so far in guilt-tripping everyone from the neighbours to my kids’ teachers, and we’ve only been going for two weeks. And yes, as well as the ‘dad-rock’ being pumped into my ears as I trundle up and down, I am driven by the reassurance that this is all for such a good cause.

Over the next few weeks until 22 May, I’ll be bringing you hopefully entertaining updates on the family’s trials, tribulations and triumphs as Lulu (my wife, age undisclosed through fear of marital retribution), Esther (9), Martha (7) and an admittedly ineffectual but kind of cute Mishkin (4), paddle our way across the channel and onto our £1,000 target.

But what about you?
It’s definitely not too late to join in with Swim22 – you have until 22 May to take the plunge and help yourself fitter along the way. The more swimmers the merrier so why not join in?

Or you could sponsor me and the family at

The story so far…
Lengths completed: 320 (out of 1416)
Money raised: £95
Current swimming playlist: AC/DC, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and the Manic Street Preachers. I have currently avoided aquatically themed playlists but there’s one on the way!

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