Ann-Marie who set herself a goal of completing 50 swims as a way of celebrating her 50th birthday last year has fundraised an amazing £425 for Sound Seekers, Here’s what she old us about her experience:
“I chose Sound Seekers after searching the web for a charity specialising in working with deaf people. Deafness is invisible and I wanted to raise awareness of the challenges faced by deaf people and the steps that can be taken to reduce the impact.
I contacted Sound Seekers by email and received a quick response from Lucy with more information, which confirmed to me that I had found the right charity. Throughout the year the Sound Seekers team kept in touch with me and took an interest in my progress.
Friends have commented on how worthwhile the work that Sound Seekers do is, so as well as raising some funds my objective of raising awareness has also been met.
The longest event and biggest single challenge was the Coniston End to End swim, a distance of 5.25 miles in Coniston Water.
My first event was the Loony Dook at South Queensferry on New Years Day when I wore an outfit inspired by Ursula from the Little Mermaid and was accompanied by my son-in-law as Ariel.
There were a lot of training swims in the pool and some lovely swims in good scenery outdoors over the year. In May, I put my floral hat on and went for a swim at Achmelvich Bay near Lochinver in the North West Highlands. The water temperature was about 11C that day.
There were foreign swims too in Montenegro (very rainy) and Egypt (very sunny).
The build up to the Coniston Water swim included a number of open water swims in the spectacular scenery of the Lake District and Loch Lomond.
On the day of the “big swim” the conditions were good and the atmosphere at the event was very encouraging. I felt a mix of excitement and apprehension, hoping that my build up had prepared me for the event. It was a well-organised event with good briefings and excellent safety cover. There were large markers in the water and feeding/drinks stations along the route, which allowed me to break it up into “lengths”.
It did not take long to settle into the swim, I had completed 2 and 3 miles training swims in Coniston Water so had visual points of reference to look out for. The safety canoes and feeding station volunteers created a safe and friendly environment on the water and before long I was eating a jelly baby and drinking some water at the 1st boat.
A piece of banana tasted wonderful in comparison with the water we were swimming in at 2.5 miles. It was heartening to think that we were approaching half way and I felt really happy.
One of my friends was helping out at the final feeding station located at about 4.5 miles. I don’t think everyone agreed with my response when she asked me how I was finding it at this point, which was a cheery “It is fun and there’s less than a mile to go!”
In the final section we had to contend with large sections of weed that got tangled around your body. Fortunately I had plenty of energy to adapt my stroke and reduce the effect of this. With the finish in sight and I found myself kicking a little more enthusiastically and was delighted to be able to stand up and walk out smiling.
5.25 miles completed in 3 hours and 9 minutes and I felt really good, even as I collected my bag I was thinking that a longer swim could be an option in 2015.”
If you are feeling inspired and would like to take on a challenge by yourself or with a team, why don’t you check out our running and challenge events to get some ideas.