EIGHTEEN months ago John Reyburn couldn’t swim.
Yet his desire to get the most out of life has seen the 56-year-old solicitor take the ultimate plunge.
Not only joining the Mandurah Masters Swimming club to learn how to swim, he also came intending to recruit others for a unique challenge.
Now Mr Reyburn and five other members of the club, Ray Reynolds, Ken Phillips, Sue Giles, Alex Galbraith and Deb Bloor, will travel to the United Kingdom to swim the English Channel from England to France.
The team will begin in Dover and make their way across the channel as a relay, swimming for an hour each before switching until they reach France.
They expect the 39km swim to take roughly 18 hours and will be allowed on French soil for 15minutes before having to immediately return to England.
Mr Reyburn said the team would have to follow the tides of the channel, which switch from north to south every six hours.
“We swim in a sort of half w-shape and we could end up at the cliffs or the beach, we don’t know,” he said.
“The trip back only takes two to three hours.”
The team, some of whom are already in England, will continue to train and acclimatise for the swim at various locations around region in the lead up to the challenge.
The team has been training extensively with local swimming legend Barbara Pellick.
Ms Pellick has swum the channel solo, participated in the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim and completed 23 solo Rottnest Channel swims.
She was instrumental in preparing the team for the icy conditions of the channel and volunteered to train the team when she learned of their endeavour.
The team spent up to six hours a week training at Drakesbrook Dam in Waroona to both prepare for the physical and mental challenges ahead of them.
The dam’s water temperature of 15 degrees matches the minimum requirements of the channel swim.
The team also had to join the Channel Swimming Association for both accreditation and support for the swim and provided them with the necessary requirements.
“We’re not allowed wetsuits, just buggie [smugglers] for the swim,” Mr Reyburn said.
“The association gave us the necessary arrangements for the swim and then we booked our spot.”
Mr Reyburn said the only problem holding the team back will be the unpredictable weather of the English Channel.
The team will only have a week from July to tackle the challenge if the water temperature is too cold or weather conditions are deemed unsafe.
Current water temperatures are around 12 degrees, lower than what is allowed for the channel swim.
Despite the uncertainty of the conditions, Mr Reyburn said the team was not talking about the cold.
“We’re not allowed to say the c-word, we’re all remaining positive about the challenge,” he said. “We’re dying to get into it, afterwards we’ll celebrate and have our holiday.”
While he joked he would never swim again after the channel swim, Mr Reyburn said he expected his next challenge would be the Mandurah Iron Man in October.