I started open water swimming just over three and a half years ago and it has changed my life. My obsession with swimming came about after I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in my right knee at the age of 34. Throughout my twenties I spent most winters skiing where picked up several bad knee injuries which needed surgery. After I stopped doing ski seasons, I took up long distance walking. This added further strain to my knee. I started to struggle to walk and ended up using a walking stick and only managing to walk short distances before the pain became too much. A friend of mine suggested that I should take up swimming. I was reluctant at first having never given it any thought before, but as my mobility reduced still further, I realised that I needed some form of exercise to stay fit. So, I literally took the plunge.
I brought a wetsuit and went for a swim in Llyn Tegid (Bala Lake) in North Wales. From that day I was hooked. I dragged my friends to shore watch whilst I swam not caring what the weather was like. I managed to swim for just a couple of months during that first year before the major knee surgery I needed could not be put off any longer. I had stem cell therapy on the cartilage in my right knee and a meniscus transplant. I was out of the water for three months before my surgeon said I could go back in the pool and another six before he said I could swim outdoors. Just before I had stopped swimming for the surgery, I had joined a swimming group on Facebook. This was one of the best decisions I ever made.
Swimming doesn’t end with summer in fact once summer is over then swimming becomes more sociable and extreme. myself and my friends swim 365 days of the year. in the winter we seek out the ice and snow. A recent trip to the Lake district this winter saw us plunging in lakes covered in thick ice and snow which took 20minutes to break with the ice axe so that we could wallow in the clear crisp 0 deg c water underneath.
2018 was my biggest swimming year, myself and 3 others in the team completed a 4 person English Channel Crossing in June whilst the water was still only 13 Deg C.
Llyn Tegid 2 way, Big Welsh Swim Llyn Padarn 9km (although training later in the summer I swam 12km), Dee Mile and Windermere one way in September. All swims are in Skins.
For 2019 I have decided to set a new challenge for myself. The planning and training are underway to try and become the first woman to swim the length of the River Severn and the first person ever to do it is skins. The source of the Severn is in Mid Wales high on the hill of Plynlimon above the Havren Forest. It then flows through Wales, though my home county of Shropshire before heading towards Worcester and Gloucester and finishing at the Bristol Channel. The total length of the river is 220 miles or 354Km. It is the longest river in the UK.
I will be documenting my swims and adventures leading up to, during and after this adventure.