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people Creating waves for charity Brisbane man Michael Powell has completed one of the world’s most gruelling physical challenges by swimming the English Channel. M ichael, 55, lost part of his Years later, that thought started left leg in a tractor accident expecting to complete it in around 18 to become reality when, in December when he was four, but two hours, but said he stopped thinking 2015, he received an email from about the clock midway through. Grimsey Adult Swimfit promoting an years ago made the decision to take on the 32-kilometre swim between England and France. Michael has become the sixth amputee to swim the English Channel, completing the swim in 15 hours and 25 minutes. “At the start, the crew was telling me how long I’d been going for, but after four or five hours, I told them to shut up,” he said. “I wanted to be in the zone and swimming, and that was it. information night about swimming the English Channel. “I was so excited I couldn’t sleep for two weeks,” he said. “Most nights I was going through the ‘will I or won’t I’ phase. My wife Amanda He took on the challenge to “My prime focus was getting raise money for charity Foodbank there, I wasn’t focussed on how long Queensland and collected more than it took. Towards the end, I could see $28,000. the shore for what seemed a very long one thousand pound deposit for a time. pilot boat called Masterpiece.” He said the swim was initially smooth in water temperatures around “When I finally touched a bit of finally said just swim the Channel or I will always regret it if I don’t. “So on January 1, 2016, I paid a Michael was coached in Brisbane 18 degrees, but conditions became sand with my arm I thought, ‘now I can by Trent Grimsey, the world record more difficult midway through. feel like I’ve made it’.” holder for the English Channel swim, “The French inshore just went 24 Michael initially went into the swim Michael said as a kid he was and received nutrition advice from really choppy, the wind got up, inspired by Australian Des Renford Tara Diversi. Trent worked with Red the currents turned around, and it — dubbed the King of the Channel in Top Swim based in London to offer went from being pleasant to quite the 1970s — and thought: “I want to a full program for swimming the challenging,” he said. do that.” Channel. people linkonline.com.au