Super-swimmer Anna channels her strength in island challenge

Swimmer Anna Wardley of Gosport after finishing her swim around Jersey
Swimmer Anna Wardley of Gosport after finishing her swim around Jersey
Pupils from Cliffdale Primary Academy

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INSPIRATIONAL Anna Wardley has swum an incredible 41 miles around Jersey in under 12 hours, all to raise money for charity.

The swim is the third in a five-part charity challenge that Anna, from Gosport, set herself.

The 37-year-old endurance swimmer hopes to raise £50,000 for charity.

She set off yesterday at 7am and completed her circumnavigation of Jersey in 11 hours, 53 minutes and five seconds.

Anna said: ‘It was a fantastic day and an amazing swim.’

Anna battled against unseasonably cold water temperatures, a strong current and unpredictable weather.

She said: ‘It was glassy calm and then a bit breezy in the afternoon. Last week the weather was terrible and there were gale force winds blowing up to 50 knots.

‘Everyone was saying that I wouldn’t be able to swim but I said we would go and see, just so we would be ready if we could. It’s a good job we did as it was one of the nicest days for ages.’

Anna said that although the weather stayed reasonably fair, water was so cold that at one point she lost the feeling in her hands and feet.

Throughout all of Anna’s swims, she has only worn a swim suit, one hat and a pair of goggles.

There was a very tense period ten hours into the swim as Anna approached the Corbiere lighthouse and the final turning point before the home strait.

As the tide started to come in there was a danger she would not make the turn in time and would have to abandon her attempt.

Anna said: ‘The last few miles took forever.

‘It was like sprinting on the spot, trying to fight the tide.

‘It felt like I was moving backwards.

‘It was like it was never going to come, it was pretty difficult but it was worth it.’

Boyd Bennie, director of Jersey Samaritans, was at various vantage points to cheer Anna on.

He said: ‘Anna is a very brave lady.

‘As well as raising funds, she is increasing awareness of the support that is needed and is provided in the community by Samaritans and other charities.

‘I congratulate her on her success in her swim around Jersey and wish her good luck with her remaining challenges in this feat of endurance.’

Anna will return to Gosport in the next couple of days and when she does it’s straight back to training for her next two swims — a 30-mile swim around the Isle of Tiree in Scotland in August and a 60-mile swim around the Isle of Wight in September – a challenge that only three people have completed.

Anna said: ‘It is my third swim out of five so it’s like a psychological milestone for me.

‘It is now more than half way. I’ve got three down and only two more to go.’

So far Anna has raised £40,000 for the Samaritans, Sail Africa and the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust with her swimming.

Donations can be made via her website,