Watch his technique: North Walsham swimmer with heart defect set to finish one-armed swimming marathon for charity

Andy Coghlan. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

Andy Coghlan. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

A young dad with a heart condition is about to complete a 52-mile charity swim - most of which he has managed with only one arm.

Andy Coghlan. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

Andy Coghlan. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

North Walsham man Andy Coghlan is just three-and-a-half miles short of his target.

It is the equivalent of swimming from Dover to Calais and back again and he was determined to achieve the feat within a year, despite needing heart surgery last summer.

Mr Coghlan, 30, had thought the August operation would keep him out of the water for six weeks.

But it turned out to be a four-month break, and surgeons advised that, for medical reasons, when he resumed his challenge he should avoid using his left arm.

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Undaunted, Mr Coghlan not only ploughed on using just his right arm, but also stepped up his swimming regime to make up for lost time.

He plans to swim his final few one-armed lengths next week, on Thursday April 28 at 7pm, exactly 364 days after he began his marathon at North Walsham's Victory pool.

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And he has invited anyone, including a representative of the British Heart Foundation, to be at the pool side to see him finish.

He originally hoped to raise £300 for the foundation but has quadrupled that amount, with £1,200 pledged online.

Born with a congenital heart condition called Fallot's Tetralogy, father-of-two Mr Coghlan has needed open-heart surgery twice, plus many smaller operations to keep him alive.

He will have clocked up 3,328 lengths of the Victory pool when he completes his swim.

'It's been really hard,' he said. 'Especially breast stroke, which puts a lot of pressure on your legs. It's caused my knees a little bit of a problem, but we're nearly done now.

'It's had a positive outcome. People have given a lot of money for heart research and I'm certainly fitter,' said Mr Coghlan, who is a stay-at-home dad, caring for his two children and volunteering at their school.

'Swimming is one of the best forms of exercise. I find it really relaxing. It's one of those things that takes you out of your regular daily activities. I will keep on as I really enjoy it.'

Mr Coghlan has a pacemaker and defibrillator fitted inside his body and said his condition had been comparatively stable for the past 10 years.

? To sponsor him, visit:

or text 'SWAM52 £5' to 70070

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