Channel swimmer Chris takes dip in the sunny Solent

22/5/12      EB''Chris Pitman 60 who is attempting to swim the Channel in September fir charity, pictured in practice for that swim and a swim across the solent with a group of others for charity.''Picture: Paul Jacobs (121782-4)

22/5/12 EB''Chris Pitman 60 who is attempting to swim the Channel in September fir charity, pictured in practice for that swim and a swim across the solent with a group of others for charity.''Picture: Paul Jacobs (121782-4)

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WHAT a perfect day for a dip in the sea!

It couldn’t have been better for Chris Pitman who is in training for an attempt to become the oldest British woman to swim the English Channel.

22/5/12      EB''Chris Pitman 60 who is attempting to swim the Channel in September fir charity, pictured in practice for that swim and a swim across the solent with a group of others for charity.''Picture: Paul Jacobs (121782-2)

22/5/12 EB''Chris Pitman 60 who is attempting to swim the Channel in September fir charity, pictured in practice for that swim and a swim across the solent with a group of others for charity.''Picture: Paul Jacobs (121782-2)

She will be 61 when she makes the bid in September.

To prepare for it Chris is taking part in the Solent Charity Swim in July and yesterday made the most of the glorious weather for her first training session with the other five swimmers and the kayak support team.

She said: ‘Every swim I do now is prep for the Channel swim.

‘We swam with the tide about a mile and a half yesterday and it was fairly warm – 11C.

‘It took 30 minutes but would have taken much longer if we swam back again against the tide. The weather was lovely and we are keeping our fingers crossed it’s going to be like that when we do the Solent swim.

‘The unpredictability of the English weather means we have a window of between July 24 and 27 to do it.’

Chris, who is on her second pacemaker, is raising money for the British Heart Foundation.

Fifty per cent of all the money she raises in the Channel swim, Solent swim, a one-mile Weymouth swim and a Channel relay swim will go to the charity.

The rest will be split between Cancer Research and Help for Heroes.

It’s been Chris’ life-long ambition to swim the English Channel.

It will be tough going for the swimming coach who will have to swim at least 21 miles, depending on the tide, across one of the world’s busiest shipping channels.

Solent swim organiser Helen Littlejohn, 44, said: ‘All the swimmers have been training hard over the winter with endurance and timed sessions in the pool and the sea to become acclimatised to the cold water.

‘We aim to raise lots of money for charity, including £5,000 for Oxfam which could pay for a water tank to provide clean water to hundreds of families to help them survive during emergencies.’

A family fun day at the Eastney Community Centre, Bransbury Park, on July 22 will raise money for the Solent swim. It is from 11am to 4pm. To donate raffle prizes or sponsorship call 07811 346043

Support Chris, of Hulbert Road, Bedhampton, online at justgiving.com/teams/ chrispitman.

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