By Ewan Foskett
Friday, August 3, 2012
A SOLDIER based at Bassingbourn Barracks swam the English Channel for charity, becoming the first Gibraltarian to complete the gruelling 21-mile challenge.
Cpt Jonathan Linares, of The Royal Engineers, braved the freezing temperatures last week making it across in 13hours 35minutes 56seconds, raising just shy of £3,000 for military charities.
He said: “It’s good to be the first Gibraltarian to do it but it just so happened that I am. I was training and a friend of mine asked me how many people from Gibraltar had done it and I worked out no-one had. Gibraltar is a small country and it is good to put it on the map, and it is something people can’t take away from me.”
The 27-year-old’s attempt had been delayed by the weather but last Tuesday a window appeared for him to get in the water.
He said: “The tides were good for the most of the way but about three hours from the end it got a bit choppy and I had been swimming for 10 hours and I was quite tired.
“I managed to stay pretty focused for the whole day, though I started at 2.30am which was a little unnerving and it was quite cold. But at the same time it was exciting to get going considering I had been training for a year and the recent waiting I had to do.
“I was shell-shocked when I finished and I felt a little cold. The best part is the achievement, for a while I had a helicopter over me because an Irishman died unfortunately two miles from France.”
Cpt Linares, who has served in Afghanistan, raised cash for The Afghan Appeal Fund, and the Army Benevolence Fund The Soldiers’ Charity.
To donate log on to www.justgiving.com/teams/jonathanchannelswim