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Digital Subscriptions > Outdoor Swimmer > April 2018 > THE DAY I BECAME A HERO IN BANGLADESH

THE DAY I BECAME A HERO IN BANGLADESH

A charity swim to raise awareness of drowning in Bangladesh made Becky Horsbrugh a national hero

I don’t think the reality of what I had achieved really sank in until I was sitting in a TV studio, five seconds from going on air, and about to take part in a whole one hour chat show about me. That experience was just one of many in a totally overwhelming week following a swim I completed across the Bangla Channel off the coast of Bangladesh. Newspaper interviews, photo shoots, various visits to TV newsrooms and people coming up to me in the street. Everyone congratulating me and saying how proud they were I had done this swim in their country. But most importantly they were so grateful for why I had done the swim – to raise awareness of the terrible problem of drowning in Bangladesh, where 50 children a day die in the water.

50 CHILDREN A DAY DIE IN THE WATER IN BANGLADESH

SWIMSAFE

My connection with Bangladesh goes back to July last year, when I helped out with a SwimSafe swim programme at a place called Sreepur Village, which is a British-run charity north of the capital Dhaka. It is essentially a refuge for women and children who need to get back on their feet. The schemes have been developed by the CIPRB (Centre for Injury Prevention and Research, Bangladesh) whose research has brought to the fore how essential it is that children in the country learn to swim. I work as a journalist, but I am also a qualified swim teacher and the experience made a big mark on me. On my return to the UK I began to look at how I could help further; how I could help raise awareness of both the swim schemes and the issue of drowning. I was doing some research on the internet one day and came across a swim called ‘The Bangla Channel’, a 16.1 km sea swim from Teknaf to St Martin’s Island in the Bay of Bengal. I was immediately intrigued. At that stage the furthest I had ever swum was about 8km in a river. However, I felt with the right training I could achieve the longer distance. I got in touch with the organiser Musa Ibrahim, and after several days of emailing we finalised the details to do the swim at the end of January 2018. It seemed the perfect vehicle to highlight the issues I was concerned with, while at the same time being a big personal challenge for me. Also, there was the big attraction that no British swimmer had ever done the swim, and no European woman. So I knew if I finished it I would go in the history books as well.

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About Outdoor Swimmer

Our April issue is our one-year anniversary issue, and it's a cracker to get you in the mood for the start of the main outdoor swimming season. On the training front, we've got a couple of kick and pull sets to try out or a fitness and technique boost, and would look at how poor technique may not only slow you down but also be a factor in shoulder injuries. Our contributor Becky Horsbrugh relates how she became a hero for a day in Bangladesh when she swam across the Bangla Channel. Then, just in case you thought outdoor swimming was a new thing, Richard Nelsson tells us the story of two swimmers from the 1950s who went about swimming in every tarn in the Lake District, naked.