SOME of them had never swum in the sea before or knew how to do front crawl.
But after hours of training and through sheer determination, a team of fundraisers conquered the Solent Swim Challenge.
Twenty-one swimmers crossed the water from Stokes Bay to Ryde Sands yesterday in a bid to raise cash for The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust.
Their two-and-a-half-mile swim helped to pull in £25,000 for the charity, which takes young cancer patients sailing to help rebuild their confidence.
The event was organised through charity endurance swimmer Anna Wardley, who helped the group through their build up to the day.
Anna, of Alverstoke, Gosport, has raised £60,000 through her own swimming challenges.
She said: ‘Twenty-one people successfully completed it and I am really proud of them, because some were total novices and started from scratch.
‘A couple of them couldn’t swim front crawl and one guy had never gone swimming in the sea in his life – and yet now they have just done a two-and-a-half-mile swim across the Solent.’
Twenty-one kayaks and nine boats followed the fundraisers on their journey to make sure everything went smoothly and no-one got into trouble.
Terry Webber, 64, of Southsea, was one of those who enjoyed taking part.
‘I have swum all my life but I have never done long-distance swimming, and swimming at sea is totally different.
‘It was great, we were all full of adrenaline so we sailed through the water.
‘I’ve swum in the sea on holiday but not like this.
‘The charity is great and the organisation behind it all was brilliant.
‘It’s fantastic how much has been raised – people are really generous.’
The team enjoyed a barbecue after their sterling efforts.