‘Killer Whales’ to brave the Channel

Colleagues from the College of Medicine at Swansea University are part of a team of eight that are swimming the English Channel in aid of vital research. Professors Julian Halcox, Mark Rees and Marc Clement will brave the waters later this week.

Cardiac consultant channel challengeThe 21 mile long challenge starts in the early hours of Thursday morning (26th September) to raise money for the Heart Research Fund for Wales. The fund supports Welsh researchers investigating the causes of cardiac diseases and enabling new treatments to be developed.

As they make their way from Dover to Calais, one member of the team will always be in the water, swimming for at least an hour, with the others close by on the support boat.


(Pictured l-r) Professor Julian Halcox, Jon David, Professor Mark Rees, Dr Phil Freeman and Dr Robin Corkill. 

You can track their progress by following the Viking Princess, the support boat the team will be using throughout the challenge http://www.marinetraffic.com/ais/default.aspx?mmsi=235018274&centerx=1.26458&centery=51.07197&zoom=10&type_color=2.

To prepare themselves, the team have undertaken a number of cold water swims and passed an intensive physical assessment to ensure they are fit enough to take part.

Professor Halcox, who is also a member of the Research Fund’s scientific team, said: We decided to swim the channel as it is a great challenge for us all as well as an opportunity to improve our fitness. As we each have an interest in cardiovascular diseases, we are raising money to support work, which will help improve outcomes for cardiac patients. The money we raise will mainly be spent to help us understand and prevent premature death from heart disease, particularly focusing on abnormal heart rhythms and coronary artery disease.

“Research is vital to improve diagnosis and develop new treatments. By determining the mechanisms responsible for these diseases we can improve outcomes and ideally prevent these conditions from developing in the first place. We want people to live free from heart diseases and the disabilities they cause for as long as possible. A better understanding of how these diseases develop is the key to increasing patients’ length and quality of life.”

The full team is:

  • Professor Julian Halcox, Consultant Cardiologist, Morriston Hospital and Professor of Cardiology, Swansea University, College of Medicine
  • Dr James Wrench, Team Manager, GP Lead Mid and South West Wales, South Wales Cardiac Network and GP at Builth Wells Medical Centre
  • Professor Marc Clement, Institute of Life Science, College of Medicine, Swansea University
  • Dr Robin Corkill, Consultant Neurologist, University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff
  • Dr Stuart D’arcy, Consultant Microbiologist, Ysbyty Gwynedd, Bangor
  • Dr Phillip Freeman, SpR and Clinical Academic Fellow in Cardiology, University Hospital of Wales,Cardiff
  • Professor Mark Rees, Institute of Life Science, College of Medicine, University of Swansea
  • Jon David, Community Pharmacist, Neyland, Pembrokeshire

To support Professor Halcox and the team during their challenge, please visit www.justgiving.com/Julian-Halcox  or www.justgiving.com/teams/Killer-Whales