Man Training to Become First Person With MS to Swim the English Channel

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by Wendy Henderson |

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In his younger years, Mike Dawson was an extreme skier and a triathlete but was forced to stop running, swimming and cycling when he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2005. It’s been 12 years since his diagnosis, and Dawson’s set to make a big splash — literally — when he returns to the water. He’s decided to take on a swimming challenge that very few people in the U.K. attempt, let alone anyone with MS.

MORE: Woman with MS in training for ultramarathon.

Swimming the English Channel at its narrowest point from Dover in England to Cap Griz-Nez is a grueling 21-mile journey in a cold and unpredictable sea. The first man to take on the challenge was Captain Matthew Webb in 1875 and since then 1,731 swimmers from around the world have followed suit (source

According to the Daily Mail, Dawson hopes to swim the Channel in September and only plans to take 30-second breaks to eat and drink along the way. His meals will consist of a carbohydrate drink and small pieces of pork pie (a quintessential British food product). He will also be swimming using only the muscles in the upper half of his body.

Forty-six-year-old Dawson has further swimming challenges lined up after he completes the Channel Challenge, including swimming the 20-mile Catalina Channel and the 28-mile swim around Manhattan.

MORE: Being an athlete with multiple sclerosis.

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