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Channel challenge after Dee's battle for health; Personal help for heart charity.

Byline: NEIL ATKINSON Head of News

HUDDERSFIELD teacher Dee Llewellyn is swapping the classroom for the choppy waters of the Channel.

Ms Llewellyn is part of a team aiming to swim the English Channel twice this weekend.

And it is all the more remarkable for she has been diagnosed with serious health problems.

Ms Llewellyn, 35, who teaches maths at Netherhall Learning Campus at Rawthorpe, will be joining five other women who will attempt to swim from Dover to Calais and back again - a minimum of 42 miles In March 2009, she suffered a stroke and, after medical tests, was found to have a hole in her heart, which had been there since birth.

This needed surgery, which was done at the heart unit at Leeds General Infirmary.

It meant Miss Llewellyn, who has been a long-distance swimmer for years, had to have some time out of the water.

This week will be the first time she has been back to swim in the Channel since then.

She did swim the English Channel in 2003, not knowing that she had any kind of heart problem.

She and the other swimmers, including another woman with a heart problem, aim to raise some money for the British Heart Foundation (BHF) to help future heart surgery. She said: "This will be a huge challenge for us as, while we're all confident pool swimmers, the trials of the open water with its icy temperatures, rough seas and jellyfish will be new to some of us.

"We're also keen to complete it in a fast time and would love to get near the world record of 18 hrs 40mins depending on the weather "Myself and another girl, Jane McCormick, have heart conditions and we'd like to raise PS10,000 for a charity so important to us.

"We are keen to show that having a heart condition doesn't necessarily have to hold you back in sport. Our pilot Andy has also had a personal experience with the effects of heart disease and so is keen to give something back to the BHF.

"The temperature where we train is now up to 12 degrees - a swimming pool is 28 degrees - so swimming is getting chilly but exciting."

The team can be sponsored at Channel facts? The Channel is 21 miles at its narrowest point, the Straits of Dover.

? It has an average depth of 207ft.

? The first recorded swim was by Capt Matthew Webb, from Dover, in August 1875.

? He took 21hrs 45mins to make the crossing.

? The fastest time was set in 2012 by Trent Grimsey, who took just 6hrs 55mins.

? The first woman to swim the Channel was Gertrude Ederle in 1926.


| LONG-DISTANCE: Channel swimmer Dee Llewellyn and, inset, alongside the Channel swim pilot boat the Louise Jane
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jul 10, 2013
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