Island swimmer takes a dip ahead of challenges

Anna Wardley in East Cowes Marina with her lucky duck
Anna Wardley in East Cowes Marina with her lucky duck

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AN OCEAN swimmer has plunged into chilly waters ahead of a final series of swims around three islands for charity.

Anna Wardley has been training for years to complete her Five Island Swim Challenge, this year raising cash for the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust.

As previously reported in The News, the 37-year-old has already swum round Portsea Island and Dragonera, an island natural park off the coast of Mallorca.

Today she trained in East Cowes Marina in the Isle of Wight with her lucky duck, braving temperatures of 6C in what is normally the coldest week of the year.

This year the self-employed PR consultant will swim non-stop 41 miles around Jersey in June, then 30 miles around Tiree, off the coast of Scotland in August, followed by the final challenge – 60 miles around the Isle of Wight in 36 hours come September.

Speaking after her dip today, she said: ‘You certainly feel the cold once you get in.

‘But when you get in and start swimming it’s not so bad but it’s painful in your fingers and toes when you’re in there for a while.

‘There was quite a crowd of people there watching, and no one seemed keen to join me.’

Anna trains in the sea at Stokes Bay in Gosport twice a week, while also training at Mountbatten Leisure Centre in Twyford Avenue, Portsmouth.

Practising in the sea allows her to acclimatise so that come the island challenges, the cold will not be a shock to her system.

During the non-stop swims Anna, of Village Road in Alverstoke, will break – and only then treading water – just to eat and drink, making sure she takes in enough calories for the mulitple-marathon task.

She said: ‘It’s just a case of keeping on going and putting one arm in front of the other until you get to the end, there’s no magic to it.

‘I’ve put so much training into it, years and months of effort with other people helping that it’s a relief to get in and do it.’