Anna’s feat of endurance is a real inspiration

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It takes a very special kind of person to even contemplate the feat of swimming all the way round Portsea Island.

Imagine 13 long miles ploughing solo and non-stop through very cold water.

Then add to that the need to negotiate extremely busy shipping channels, requiring months of planning to ensure safety is paramount.

It’s not for the faint-hearted.

But then endurance swimmer Anna Wardley is not like the rest of us.

While mere mortals would struggle to swim along the length of Southsea beach, Anna takes long distances in her stride – or should that be stroke.

Yesterday the inspirational 36-year-old from Gosport emerged from the Solent triumphant after completing a seven-hour swim.

After six miles around the uninhabited island of Dragonera off the coast of Mallorca on May 27, this was the second stage of a Five Island challenge to raise funds for the Samaritans, Toe in the Water and Sail Africa

From the start at Eastney to Hilsea Lines, Gunwharf Quays, the beach off Southsea Castle and then back to Eastney, Anna was supported by people along the route.

Unlike other long-distance swims abroad, this time Anna was on home territory.

It obviously meant a great deal to her to be able to spot familiar landmarks and be cheered on by family and friends.

Even her faithful dog was there to bark approval.

We salute Anna for her magnificent achievement and for being such an inspiration to others. It’s incredible to think that she only took up open water swimming in 2007.

How fitting in this Olympic year that she has become the first person to complete a solo swim around Portsea Island recognised by the British Long Distance Swimming Association – the organisation which ratifies such swims in the UK.

Now it’s on to the next challenge – a mere 41 miles around Jersey next month.

Go, Anna! The whole of the Portsmouth area is right behind you and we know you can do it.