Julieann Galloway: taking plunge

At 22 miles long, the swim from Dover to Calais across the English Channel remains one of the biggest challenges for athletes.

But UCD student Julieann Galloway has no qualms about taking on the task. After two years' training she is finally ready to test her strength by attempting the mammoth challenge for Irish charity Headway, which provides services to people with acquired brain injury.

The 23-year-old, who is doing a PhD in American Studies, said she wanted to raise money for the charity, which is in financial difficulty, as she suffered a brain injury when she was three.

"I fell off a grandstand onto my head in a swimming gala when I was three, fractured my skull and was in a coma for five days," she said.

"The prognosis was not good and the doctors were not hopeful. However, I came out of the coma and with support and time I fully recovered. I really wanted to swim the channel and raise money for a charity that means something to me, and so I chose Headway."

Galloway will attempt the swim on 13 August and has so far raised over €3,000 towards her target of €10,000.

According to Kieran Loughran of Headway, the student's efforts "will raise much-needed funds which will enable us to continue providing essential services to people with acquired brain injury".

Texan-born Galloway will put herself through a gruelling training regime right up until August.

"I am training consistently in Portmarnock and Clontarf, where I live at the moment," she said. "I am resolute and I'm looking forward to just going for it."