"Drowning plank of wood" Dean Conway defies his doubts to conquer "the Channel" in Maltby pool

"Drowning plank of wood" Dean Conway defies his doubts to conquer "the Channel" in Maltby pool

By Michael Upton | 02/12/2021

'Drowning plank of wood' Dean Conway defies his doubts to conquer 'the Channel' in Maltby pool

SUPERFIT Dean Conway put his stamina to the test when he set out to cross the English Channel — without leaving his home town.

Personal trainer Dean (pictured), who has taken on a series of charity challenges in the past, including as 3,000 “burpees for bone cancer”, decided to swim 21 miles during November.

The 33,796m-long Conway Channel Crossing took place at Maltby Leisure Centre, with Dean aiming to complete 1,351 lengths of the 25m pool.

And it was no easy feat, as Dean described his swimming persona as “someone who resembles a drowning plank of wood”.

But determined Dean, of Pippin Court, Maltby, said he had enjoyed getting outside his comfort zone.

“I’ve gone from struggling to do breast stroke to doing my first mile of front crawl,” he added.

“I have a new found respect for swimmers and will be incorporating a swim in my training every week now because it helps to keep me nice and loose.

“I’ve got to the point where I finish work and go for a swim — it’s part of my routine.”

Dean added: “Each year I try to put myself through some sort of physical punishment to raise funds for magnificent charities and this year is no different.

“Having completed a triathlon earlier this year, it became strikingly obvious that my weakness in the event was the swim so it seemed only right that I target this weakness as a source of punishment for the next fundraising attempt.

“Floundering around in the water got me thinking: ‘What have I signed up for here?!’ as I was embarrassingly slow and people twice my age glided past me with ease.

“I had something of an epiphany that the next time I raised money for charity it had to be swim related — and so The Conway Channel Crossing was born.”

Despite his pre-challenge nerves, Dean has pushed on with the regular swims and collected more than £1,600 in sponsorship for Rotherham Hospice in memory of his friend Craig Nettleship, who died from a brain tumour in 2017.

“Craig was a character and I often described him as being the unluckiest man alive due to his sheer magnetic quality of attracting misfortune,” said Dean.

“He never let that bother him though and also saw the funny side.

“Never was this more apparent than when he broke his leg and joked that at least he wouldn’t have to go and watch Sheffield Wednesday for a few weeks until his leg was up to it.

“Craig and I drifted over the years but whenever we did come into contact, it was like no time had passed and we started right back where we left off.

“Craig’s passing left a tremendous hole in the lives of his family and friends.

“I always say to my clients it helps to have a good reason why you’re what you’re doing and for me it’s that people were relying on me to do this and I was relying on the memory of Craig to get me through.”

Visit https://tinyurl.com/DeanConwayChannel to donate to Dean’s fundraising page.