Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Big Rick.....WHO ARE YOU.....?

Big Rick.!
it would be easy to say Mark Rickhuss was just an amazingly talented swimmer,  a superb all  round sportsman..and great family man,  well  yes Mark was that , but  so so much more...!! we hope to give you a small insight as to who the man 'Big Rick' was and why his smooth, easy and laid back personality and approach to life, had such impact on so many peoples' lives..without him ever knowing it...!

                       So...Who is Big Rick...?, Why not play as you read..!!

 Mark was an accomplished pool and open water swimmer. In his teens Mark swam for both  Darlaston and Walsall Swimming clubs and won many ASA  Staffordshire County, West Midland and British  National titles in the swimming pool. As much as Mark enjoyed pool racing,  his real love  was always Open Water swimming.
As soon  Mark transferred his efforts to the open water, he had only one thing in mind; swimming The English Channel..!! he won all  big BLDSA (The British Long Distance Swimming Association) races whilst training for his Channel attempt in 1999.. Windermere, 
Coniston , Torbay , Liverpool ultra and so many more... 

Mark completed his English Channel dream in the summer 1999, the conditions on the day were not perfect by any means, but nothing was going to deter Mark from swimming with the constant support and encouragement from his father John (a fine open water swimmer himself) in the support boat. ( Mark`s Channel CSA pilot  for the swim was the great  Reg Brickell with his boat Viking Princess  .)

Mark not only swam the Channel, which is an amazing achievement in itself, but he set a few records for that year. at the time Mark was only the 605th swimmer to ever  swim from England to France in the  past 100 years, his time of 9 hours 18 minutes resulted in him being the fastest British person to  do the swim in 1999. His time, in the roughest of  sea conditions on the day, was considered so amazing by the CSA (Channel Swimming Association) that they  awarded him the title of 'Best Open Water Swimmer' of 1999. ( Mark always thought that given better conditions on the day a sub 8hrs swim would have been possible , he was in such great condition )

In 2002, when still living and working in Warwick, Mark along with with his dad John and 5 others formed 'Sandwell Long Distance Swimming Club', it was here whilst in training for a planned two way Channel swim scheduled for 2003, that Mark discovered he had Angina..!

Mark moved  to South Devon in 2004, it was here that he was contacted by a former pupil of his from Warwick school; Tim Denyer. Tim was planning to swim the Channel in 2005 and asked if Mark would consider coaching  him in his channel attempt , Mark jumped at the opportunity ! 
The swim took place in August 2005, it went according to plan and Tim was doing amazing, until he was just a few hundred yards away from the coast of France,  Tim was so tired,  he was finding swimming against the strong currents impossible , he was getting pushed further back out to sea , he was having serious thoughts about giving up . 

Mark knew if Tim missed this moment to swim into France, it would mean another Two or three more hours of swimming for Tim at least ,   before the tide would change giving Tim another chance to land in France considering Tim was already exhausted and struggling .Mark took action 

Tim remembers thinking i,m not going to make it . all that training for nothing ....And at that moment he felted someone swimming alongside him doing Backstroke .!! , Mark had jumped in to help and motivate his friend , once Tim saw Mark in the water that was it; they both swam into France...!!  Once French soil had been reached ,  Mark boarded the support boat with Tim, the men hugged Coach & Swimmer had made it to France ..Mark Told Tim how proud he was of what he had done  , with that Mark  sat back and sadly passed away in Tim arms....
Mark was only 41 years old . we miss him everyday xx

Mark Rickhuss
The Man was a Star..x
'Big Ricks Open Water Swim Team' was set up in 2008 in memory of Mark.. Over the past 8 years the team have participated in many open water swimming events around the UK to raise much needed funds for The British Heart Foundation & Macmillan Cancer Support & Cancer Research UK . To date team 'Big Rick' have raised over £85,000.  We are always motivated by the memory Mark...!!

Just a few team pictures from some of the events Big Ricks  have completed over the past 8 years.! 

BHF Bournemouth Pier to Pier 2008
BHF Bournemouth Pier to Pier 2009
The British Gas Great North Swim 2009
The British Gas Great East Swim 2010
The British Gas Great London Swim 2010
The British Gas Great London Swim 2010
BHF Bournemouth Pier to Pier 2010
 BHF Heart of England Swim 2010

ASA Midlands Open Water Champinships 2010

The British Gas Great Salford Swim 2010
 If you wish to support 'Big Ricks' English Channel challenge
in aid of The British Heart Foundation and Cancer Research UK,
then please log onto our Virgin Money Giving Page;
Big Ricks Channel Swim 2011 Virgin Money Giving
Big Ricks @ the great salford swim 2011

The Great Salford Swim May 2011
Big Ricks Swim For Your Heart Award 2011
Big Ricks Channel team 
 1st training session April 2011
Ricks Boys @ The Great Swim 2011
Channel Team Night Training in May 2011
Big Ricks Channel Relay Team
(CSA Fastest 6 man Relay of 2011)
Big Ricks @ Swimmers Beach Dover with the Famous Channel swimming
Trainer Freda Streeter 2011

Big Ricks @ The Great North Swim in Lake Windermere 2011
Big Ricks @ The Great London Swim in Victoria & Albert Docks 2011
Big Ricks at The British Heart Foundation Heart Of England Swim 2011
Big Ricks at the British Heart Foundation 
Pier to Pier in Bournemouth
 Big Ricks Nige and Henry at the British Heart Foundation 
Pier to Pier in Bournemouth 2011
Big Ricks Darran.
British Freestyle (44-49) champion 2011
Big Ricks Swim Team..
British Heart Foundation Team of the Year 2011
Big Ricks Swim Team winners of Fundraisers of the Year 2011
at the Kelloggo`s ASA Swimtastic Awards dinner in Sheffield 
Big Ricks were awarded at the CSA dinner in Dover
The Fastest  Mens Channel Relay Team of 2011
Big Ricks Channel Team
were runners up for most outstanding sporting achievement
at the Walsall civic awards  2011
Ricks show support for
The BHF and Cancer research uk at the start of our double channel year 2012
Feb 2012
Double Channel Training Starts April 2012
5hrs test sea swim ..May 2012..
Big Ricks Double channel kit June 2012
Big Ricks double Channel team 2012..

the Ricks story to be continue in