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Isle of Wight included in new swimming challenge

Wed 4 Apr 2012

Isle of Wight included in new swimming challenge

The Isle of Wight has been included in a challenge extreme swimmer Anna Wardley has set herself.

From May, 36-year-old Anna Wardley will take on five difficult journeys around different islands, including the Isle of Wight and Portsea in England, Jersey in the Channel Islands and Dragonera near Mallorca in Spain.

The swimmer, who has completed long-distance journeys including across the English Channel and Gibraltar Straits in the past, will cover 150 miles over all and hopes to finish her challenge by September.

"I have a gruelling training programme to make sure I'm prepared mentally and physically for what are set to be the most difficult swims I've ever faced," she stated.

Ms Wardley will be raising money for the Samaritans, charity for injured military personnel Toe in the Water and Sail Africa, which helps disadvantaged young people in Durban, South Africa.

Her trip around the Isle of Wight will see her swim for 60 miles - nearly three times the length of the English Channel - which could take 30 hours and has only be done before by three other people.

But Ms Wardley anticipates that her hardest day will be her attempt to circumnavigate Tiree off the west coast of Scotland, as she will be the first person ever to try and do this and she will not be wearing a wetsuit so she can set a record.

"Tiree will be particularly tough due to the powerful tidal streams and the extremely low water temperature, which barely rises above 13 degrees Celsius even in the height of summer," she stated.

Kevin Murphy, described as "King of the English Channel" after traversing it 34 times, was the first person to circumnavigate the Isle of Wight in 1971.

He pointed out that Ms Wardley is in for a difficult journey when she attempts to swim around the island.

"Getting through The Needles is something of an adventure - especially in the dark - and the sea can be very rough off St Catherine's point," the expert stated.

Mr Murphy noted there are very few people who could manage to swim for over 24 hours in the first place without facing the extra problems that the Isle of Wight throws at the person taking the challenge.

"No solo swimmer has ever managed to get to Bembridge to catch the tide," he pointed out, "which means we've all had six hours of swimming against it going nowhere before being able to make progress again".

Posted by Louise ParkesADNFCR-3083-ID-801334156-ADNFCR

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