I love swimming outside and I decided to swim between the North and South Islands of New Zealand to raise money for my local lido.
Since I started swimming across open water I’ve done the whole length of Lake Windermere and I did the English Channel in 2006. When I found out that there was a chance I could be the first British woman to ever successfully swim across the Cook Strait between the New Zealand North and South Islands, I couldn’t resist having a go!
The Strait has really strong tides and changeable weather (not to mention sharks and jellyfish!) and for a record attempt you aren’t even allowed to wear a wetsuit. I worked out I’d have to swim at 2.5km an hour for 11 hours to make it across – I soon started to realise why the record was still there to be set.
But there’s something so wonderful about swimming in the open air – whether it’s across the open water or in an outdoor pool. I work at the Hampton Pool in London which is a real oasis in the busy city where you can swim outside. I get so much out of it – I have asthma and actually find it therapeutic too. I decided if I was going to give the Cook Strait a go I’d raise money for the Hampton Pool so they could pay for a disabled hoist. That way the whole community can enjoy it.
I’m proud to say that I made it across. I got some lovely messages of support on my virginmoneygiving.com page and so far I’ve raised £2354.33 for the Hampton Pool so other people can enjoy open air swimming too.