Two local 17-year olds yesterday entered the record books and raised over £3,000 for the Saffron Rose 4 Rett Charitable Trust in an epic four hour swim around the Rock.
Max McGiffen and Jake Moreno are two of the youngest people to swim around the Rock, a journey of 12 kilometres, with Mr Moreno being the youngest ever.
Diving into the cold November waters of Western Beach at 7am, the duo wore wet suits to add buoyancy and knew the next time they would touch the ground would be hours later on Eastern Beach.
Their parents were with them every stroke of the way, with Mr Moreno’s parents on board the support vessel that accompanied them and Mr McGiffen’s mother on the shoreline of every beach and look out vantage point along the way.
The boys are students at Bayside Comprehensive School and many of their friends and teachers were on Eastern Beach to welcome them cheering and clapping ferociously.
Once on dry land, the teenagers were naturally cold and this prompted two of their schoolmates to take off their school hoodies and give them to the boys, who then donned t-shirts with the charity’s name emblazoned on them.
Feeling a little warmer Mr McGiffen told the Chronicle: “I am just so happy that we have managed to do this and to raise so much for charity because at the end of the day that is why we are doing it.”
Mr Moreno said he was “tired but very excited that we have accomplished this.”
Prior to the challenge the young men said they were feeling nervous and excited about the prospect but it was their determination to “really want to get out there and do it”, that drove them out of bed at 5.30am yesterday morning.
The duo had the current in their favour from Western Beach to Europa Point, but “then we had some quite strong currents against us coming back from Europa to here [Eastern Beach].”
They spent the rest of yesterday eating and sleeping.
Mr McGiffen’s mother, Trudy McGiffen, said she was relieved now the challenge was complete but that she was also “ecstatic, as it’s just extraordinary what they have done. To contemplate swimming around the Rock at any time of the year or age, let alone at 17, is a phenomenal achievement.”
Regarding how much was raised, Ms McGiffen said that the boys had a target of £5,000, and while they have reached over £3,000 already she believes that that amount will rise. “Now that they have done it, I am hoping that people will see this and donate further.”
“They want to raise £5,000 as a piece of equipment the Trust wants costs that much.”
People wishing to donate can do so via by visiting the boys’ Just Giving page.
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