Young North Walsham dad with heart condition battles to complete swimming marathon - one-handed

Andy Coghlan. Picture: SUBMITTED

Andy Coghlan. Picture: SUBMITTED - Credit: Archant

A young dad, born with a heart condition, is battling on with a fundraising bid to swim the equivalent of the English Channel - but can now only use one arm.

Andy Coghlan, 30, from North Walsham, began his two-armed Dover-to-Calais-return challenge last spring.

But he had to stop for more heart surgery four months ago and has only been fit enough to return to North Walsham's Victory pool this year.

Doctors have told Mr Coghlan not to use his left arm for long-distance swimming, for fear of causing complications following his operation.

And so he has been clocking up the miles doing a one-handed breast stroke.

'I'm committed to finishing this. Everyone has been so generous with donations,' he said.

Mr Coghlan had originally hoped to raise £300 for the British Heart Foundation with his feat, but has already smashed his target more than threefold, with £1,000 in the kitty this week.

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He was born with the condition Fallot's Tetralogy and needed open-heart surgery as a child.

Late last summer surgeons at St Bartholemew's Hospital, London, replaced a pacing wire in his combined internal pacemaker and defibrillator.

Mr Coghlan is determined to complete his feat by the end of April and has more than doubled the number of miles he aims to do each week, from one to about two-and-a-half.

Each mile is 64 lengths of the pool and so far he has notched up 22.5 miles.

'I'm pretty tired,' he said. 'I'm doing twice as much, I'm half as fit after so long out of the pool, and I can only use one arm. But I've nearly got to Calais.'

To support Mr Coghlan visit www.justgiving.com/andycoghlan or facebook.com/Andysswim