Endurance swimmers getting ready for Solent Swim Challenge

Swimmers training to take part in the cross-Solent challenge. ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (142131-2302)
Swimmers training to take part in the cross-Solent challenge. ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (142131-2302)
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CHALLENGERS are bracing themselves for a major feat under the watchful eye of a top endurance swimmer.

Gosport’s Anna Wardley’s Solent Swim Challenge comes after she finished her own endurance swims last year.

Now a group of amateurs are well on their way to do a cross-Solent swim next month.

The majority of them were training at Stokes Bay ahead of the challenge on August 17.

Among them is Giles Padmore, 56, of Gosport.

He is an experienced scuba diver but has little experience in open water swimming.

Since signing up he has been putting in the hours at Gosport Leisure Centre.

He said: ‘I managed 300m the first time I went to the pool, all breast or back stroke, so I have been frequenting the local pool and trying to get better.

‘I am delighted to be accepted after making the grade of swimming one mile in 45 minutes.

‘I’m now trying to build up as much experience as possible in the open water down at Stokes Bay.

‘I have a series of large challenges to overcome in the upcoming months, but I want to raise a lot of money for such a good cause.’

The swimmers are raising cash for the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust and Giles, who runs Iron Heart in Gosport, has raised £3,000 so far.

The group met for training at Stokes Bay, completing an 800m course with kayaks and other swimmers close by.

The training is preparing them for the big swim from Gosport to Ryde, Isle of Wight.

Tom Baker, 50, from Southsea, is also taking part.

The Colas worker said: ‘I love swimming in the sea off Southsea seafront and will be here as often as I can in the summer.

‘I completed a swim from Southsea to Ryde in 2012 in aid of Ryde in-shore rescue, so have had a lot of experience open water swimming.

‘I’m looking forward to taking part in the Solent Swim Challenge.’

The group will do an acclimatisation swim on August 16 ahead of the challenge.

As reported, Anna completed her Five Island Swim Challenge and raised around £60,000 for charity.

She said: ‘We hope friends and family will come and cheer on the swimmers as well.’