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'I got addicted to the peace and quiet', Archie

I signed up as I wanted to take on a fitness challenge. It was a fitness challenge at the start, then I focussed a lot on fundraising (Archie was our top fundraiser in 2020 and raised over £3,000!). My first swim I swum 8 lengths, next I swum 20 lengths, then 40 lengths, then a mile and it kept going up from there.

I learnt that it is mind over matter and if you don’t give up you can get it done. I’ve never been an athlete and I’ve never been good at swimming.

I enjoyed the routine – I would go swimming every day before work at 6.30 for an hour. I had put time in for me and accomplished something before work and could get on with my day. That habit has stuck with me. I got addicted to the peace and quiet, and the conscious routine.  

"With the Low Blood Sugar diet as well as the swimming, I lost 2 stone and was able to reverse my Diabetes to Pre-Diabetic", Lorraine

In December 2022 I was diagnosed with type 2 and they wanted to put me on Metformin, but I did not want to take medication if I did not need it.  I decided to first try reversing it through diet and exercise. I was already swimming twice a week before work due to joint issues and when I got diagnosed and joined Diabetic UK, found out about the Swim22 and thought why not!  It gave me something to focus on so I started swimming 4 times a week then increased it to 5 times a week once I started the challenge in March. I can swim 32 lengths (half a mile) in 20mins to 30mins. The more I swum my technique got and the faster I became. 

With the Low Blood Sugar diet as well as the swimming, I lost 2 stone and was able to reverse my Diabetes to Pre-Diabetic.  I am still swimming 5 days a week and have been able to keep the weight off. 

I feel really proud that I completed the Challenge and raised over £400. I wore my Swim22 hat with pride. The benefits of swimming are fantastic. It does not matter how well or fast you can swim just do it; you will feel fabulous. 

Lucy with her dog taking part in Swim22
"I don’t know what I would do without it! It’s been my saving grace without any doubt at all." Lucy

It’s the first big event that I’ve taken part in since I was diagnosed with diabetes, and so it was really important to me. I’m both absolutely thrilled and in a huge amount of disbelief that I’ve managed to do it!

Swim22 is a hell of a personal goal to achieve, and it’s something that nobody can take away from you. When you’re living with diabetes, and you’re faced with all the check-ups and the treatments and things going wrong - it can feel quite miserable. But when you think that you’ve completed the challenge, it makes you want to put yourself on a pedestal - and you should. Because what you’ve done is say, ok - I’ve got diabetes, but I’ve overcome it and I’m doing something really positive - contributing to a fantastic charity and hopefully changing lives as a result.

Annie wearing her Swim22 hat and Swim22 medal
"And now that I’m heading to the pool regularly, my blood glucose (sugar) levels are much more stable and I’m feeling much fitter." Annie

My advice to anyone taking on Swim22 is to just enjoy it! I’ve found that people can put too much pressure on themselves, worrying that they’re not fast or can’t swim that far. But the hard bit is getting those first lengths out of the way. Once you’ve done that, it builds up and you’ll surprise yourself. So don’t push yourself, everyone does it at their own pace. 

If you’ve managed to raise £10, that’s still £10 towards fighting diabetes. And if one thousand people have £10, then together that’s an incredible amount. You’re not on your own when you take part in Swim22. 

I think a lot of people can sometimes feel quite embarrassed about going to the swimming pool, especially if they aren’t happy with their weight or how they look. But I think it’s important for everyone to remember that most of the time, people don’t care! They’re too busy thinking about their swim, or what they look like!

Jackie taking part in Swim22 for Diabetes UK
"Swim22 gave me time for me," Jackie

That was one of the biggest things that Swim22 gave me was time for me. I wasn't mum, wife, or nan I was just me. I could just go into the pool and zone out and swim.

I hadn't done any exercise for a long time because of the arthritis. I also wanted to lose some weight but I thought because I'm diabetic I wanted to get my diabetes under control to a point where I didn't have to take medication.

I felt a massive sense of achievement swimming 22 miles. It definitely changed my life, and it can change other people's. If you think you can't do it, you'll be surprised how much you can do. Break it down into little pieces.

Kirsten smiling with her Swim22 cap
"I’ve always had a love of water and a healthy respect for it, so I’m just excited to get going," Kirsten

I’m really excited to get back into the pool; I really miss it. I’ve always had a love of water and a healthy respect for it, so I’m just excited to get going. I’m a bit out of practice at the moment, so I’m not sure how far I’ll be able to swim when I’m allowed back in the pool - but I’m feeling ready to build up my strength and take on the challenge

To anyone who is thinking about signing up I would always say go for it! It’s something you can do at your own pace. Even if you’re not a confident swimmer, you can do as much as you can when you can. You really can make it your own. The Facebook group is also really supportive of everybody, and the actual challenge itself is so rewarding.

Amanda smiling with her Swim22 medal after swimming Swim22 for Diabetes UK
"Swim22 helped with my rehabilitation so much," Amanda

I took on 11 miles last year with my sister in law. She wanted to find a challenge to help her lose weight and she came across Swim22. She asked if I wanted to take part as I have a connection with diabetes. Having my transplants the year before I need to do some rehabilitation and not being able to use the gym because I couldn’t lift weights made it seemed like a perfect challenge. I also like swimming!

Swimming is a great way to relax and to go into your own little world and forget about everything for an hour.

It was great to have Cheryl as we were able to support each other as it is hard to do such a big challenge on your own. If one of us was feeling like we couldn’t be bothered the other one would spur us on, and you felt great when you were there.

Bernadette smiling after swimming Swim22 for Diabetes UK
"Swimming puts the biggest smile on my face," Bernadette

These days I swim outdoors in open water. Swimming makes me feel part of nature, I feel free, it makes me forget about my size. The cold water makes me glow from the inside, it puts the biggest smile on my face. The water feels like silk and the cold warms my heart.  

Alison smiling next to her pool
"'When I'm swimming, I can't feel my joint pain so it's just me enjoying being in the water and getting fit!" Alison

Swimming makes me feel refreshed, invigorated and ready to go on with my day.  It's a chance for a release from tension and stress for me. When I'm swimming, I can't feel my joint pain so it's just me enjoying being in the water and getting fit!

Louise swimming after taking part in Swim22 for Diabetes UK
"Swim22 helped me with my confidence", Louise

I've had type 1 for 29 years and wanted to give back to Diabetes UK. Loved the platform as you can see exactly how much more I need to swim to complete my challenge. I also loved the virtual badges - I'm like a big kid when it comes to things like this.

Swim22 helped me with my confidence - and helped me talk about my diabetes.

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