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Student swims to success

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A DETERMINED sports student was awarded last week with one of the top individual fundraising prizes after completing the Aspire Swim Channel Challenge 2005, despite being wheelchair-bound.

Guiliana Carassalini, 21, of Cherry Hill, St Albans, swam the 22 miles of the English Channel over 12 weeks, raising £3,439 for the charity, which helps those with spinal cord injuries.

Half-way through the challenge she was forced to take a six-week break from swimming due to injuries but didn’t let that stop her and she finished the challenge by swimming 200 lengths a day in the last week.
She said: “I always knew the Aspire Channel Swim would be a tremendous challenge, as I would be swimming with only the use of my upper body.

“The day I finished was a momentous occasion for me and I am both delighted and proud to have raised this sum of money for a charity which effectively gives people their lives back after a spinal cord injury.”

Guiliana suffers from Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, a connective tissue disorder, which occurred after a ski-ing accident damaged the ligaments in her knee when she was 15 years old.

People with the condition do not produce enough collagen, causing their bones, ligaments and tendons to break very easily. Before the accident she was a competitive sprint swimmer and captain of the team but only got back in the water last year.

Aspire is a national spinal cord injury charity that works with people with spinal cord injuries to create opportunity, choice and independence, helping the 40,000 people in Britian who are sufferers.

The Aspire Channel Swim is a sponsored event that is now in its seventh year and is one of the country’s biggest sponsored swims.

The 2005 event raised £320,000 and organisers hope to raise even more this year.

To take part in the Aspire Channel Swim 2006 telephonet Rosie Cotton on 08000 370 880 or visit

By Alex Lewis

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