Students swim the channel to tackle mental health

Empowering students to improve their mental health was the aim of a group of Sheffield Hallam University students who swam the equivalent of the English Channel at Ponds Forge International Sports Centre.

The group of 60 students and staff, who are all studying sport coaching in the Academy of Sport and Physical Activity, were inspired to take on the challenge by the recent Channel 4 series Sink or Swim.

The programme saw celebrities such as the Last Leg’s Alex Brooker and Coronation Street star Sair Khan join with athletes including Linford Christie and Tessa Sanderson push themselves to the limits of their ability.

The group was made up of swimmers of differing abilities who between them managed to swim more than 44 miles, roughly the length of swimming the English Channel and back.

The swim, held on Friday 29 November, was in aid of Student Minds, a charity that works with students, professionals and academics to develop new and innovative ways to improve the mental health of students. 


The number of metres swam by individuals ranged from 100 metres to 5km, with different targets to suit different abilities.

Janet Vickers, senior lecturer in sport coaching and physical education said: “We teach our students to recognise the important part that regular physical activity plays in improving mental health and resilience to other diseases so to see them take on this daunting challenge is an inspiration to us all.

“The effort our students and staff put in was tremendous. The whole of the group aimed high, supported each other and achieved their goal. They are a credit to the University.”

Kate Mitchell, fundraising officer at Student Minds said:We are incredibly grateful that students and staff at Sheffield Hallam University chose to support Student Minds with this impressive and inclusive challenge.

“The money they have raised will enable us to empower more students and members of the university community to look after their own mental health, support those around them and create change. Thank you, on behalf of everyone here at Student Minds.”

To date, more than £300 has been raised but you can donate to the cause here.

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