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Sky Sports Journalist set to swim English Channel for Children’s charity

Driven by his passion for adventure, the Rugby Editor for Sky Sports will be swimming the English Channel in aid of the Children’s Air Ambulance (TCAA).

Julian Crabtree – a profound long-distance swimmer and adventurer –is no stranger to challenging himself when it comes to open water.

Famed for successfully swimming all the waves of the Great Swim series, becoming the first South African and the third person to do the Arch to Arc solo, and running over one thousand miles across Alaskan Wilderness – Julian’s latest venture is to take on the English Channel once again, but this time as one of six swimmers who make up the Tidal Force Team.

The team will gather on the Dover shores this week and will be called upon anytime between 10-14 June, joining a further two teams, in the charity challenge to navigate the 22.5-mile stretch as a relay – in an effort to raise vital funds for the lifesaving Children’s Air Ambulance.

“Since a child, I have enjoyed getting out and doing stuff. I played a lot of Rugby and swimming naturally aided any injuries, and my passion for swimming grew from there; I was always exploring new and safe places to swim,” says Julian.

“Although I have taken on this swim before, no swim is the same, especially when it’s in aid of worthy charity like the Children’s Air Ambulance,” adds Julian.

The Children’s Air Ambulance – operated by The Air Ambulance Service – is a national service that is changing the face of paediatric and neonatal care through the high-speed transfer of critically ill babies and children – flying them from one hospital to another for specialist care.

Two clinically designed AgustaWestland 169 helicopters provide flying intensive care units and work with 10 NHS paediatric retrieval teams across the UK. If a child is too sick to fly, then the Children’s Air Ambulance can fly a specialist team directly to them.

Despite only signing up to the Children’s Air Ambulance event in April, Julian’s naturally comfortable in the water and has kept to a training routine in preparation for next week’s relay.

“I swim every day, whether that’s outside or in a pool – preferably outside. And I just swim, I have no set time or distance, I just get in and enjoy each swim,” says Julian.

“I do concentrate on stroke work though, as I’m not the prettiest of swimmers,” he jovially adds.

Although an experienced swimmer, Julian admits he still gets a little nervous before challenges like this as the English Channel poses unpredictable currents and conditions, and the boat often sets off seasickness.

“It’s a mental game as much as it is a physical one – the weather, currents, and waves can make a real difference when in the open water. We have a strong and confident team, and we have all trained hard so I am sure we will complete this challenge and spur each other on.” Julian adds.

Julian and the team’s swimming efforts will make a huge difference for the national charity which relies on public donations to remain operational.

On behalf of TCAA Special Events team, Kristina Johnson says:

“We’re delighted to have Julian and his wealth of experience on the Tidal Force Team.

“We’d like to thank him for all his dedication training and fundraising– despite the difficulties faced in the current climate. Julian’s support of the charity is appreciated, and we look forward to seeing him in the water, cheering him and the rest of the team on.”

To support Julian and the Tidal Force Team on their challenge, please click here.