A MAJOR heart operation may have put the brakes on one swimmer but four other women are still gearing up for the swim of their lives.
Chris Pitman was devastated when she had to pull out of the Ladies Wot Swim challenge – a relay around the Isle of Wight.
The 63-year-old swimming instructor was going full steam ahead in training until her pacemaker failed.
But she is a key member of the support team helping Pauline McCracken, 40, Heather Lunt, 36, Ann Brimelow, 66, and Kate Steels-Fryatt, 44, who will swim 56 miles around the island for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance.
They are all seasoned open water swimmers who have completed many challenges.
Chris, from Bedhampton, said: ‘I’m absolutely gutted I am not part of the relay team but will be on the other side as part of the support crew.
‘Although I am recovering well from my pacemaker operation I will not be able to get myself fit enough in time to swim the several hours required to swim round the Isle of Wight.
‘The ladies are hoping that I will be able to swim the last bit and finish the swim.
‘It is very weather dependent and the first tidal window for the swim is from August 22 to 27.
‘Swimming round the Isle of Wight is a really huge and exciting challenge for the team.’
In 2012 Chris had to abandon an attempt to become the oldest British woman to swim the English channel in 2012 just five miles from the French coast.
She had spent an exhausting 21 hours battling rough seas and strong tides and was forced to concede defeat.
All the swimmers are from the Portsmouth area and they have been working hard to make sure they are fit enough to deal with ferocious tides, ice cold water and the darkness by practising off Southsea beach.
To sponsor the ladies go to justgiving.com/ladieswotswim.