The Apadmi and Hiss Challenge

  |  Published: Oct 29th 2012

Since our last article about Rebecca Stephenson's preparations, she has completed 3 more training swims. The first was a 2-way relay of Windermere. This was an overnight swim, taking 11.5 hours. Windermere was very challenging as no one was able to sleep. It started at 22.52, finishing at 10:20 and was fuelled by adrenaline. Having completed it though it felt like the channel was actually going to be possible...maybe even enjoyable.

As swimming for an hour now seemed easy for Rebecca, she decided to make sure she was still challenged and signed up for a 10k swimming marathon as the second of her training swims. Having only swum 6k 3 weeks before she had a lot of training to do, and only 2 weeks to do it. But by the week of 10k she was able to swim 8.25k in 3 hours, and on the day she completed 10k in 4 hrs.

Now the only training left was a sea swim, 3 days before the channel. Most of the team made it to this swim, off Bardsey Island in Wales – they were supposed to have a boat – but the coastguard wouldn't let them go out due to there being a force 4 wind on its way – so they swam from the beach – in 1-2 m waves. This was a great experience, and they would find out later in the week just how important the experience would be!

Now for the actual channel swim, they arrived in Dover on the Tuesday night with a poor forecast so they were shocked to get the wakeup call at 7:20 the next morning telling them the swim was on. By 08:30 they were on the boat, and headed out to the starting beach, with the official start time as 09:21am. The first two hours were perfect – like swimming in a lake, the sun was out and it was warm, but around the 3rd hour the weather came in, and over the next 9½ hours it steadily got worse. Going from perfect weather to a force 2, then 3, 4, and all the way up to a force 7. Waves were crashing over them, and they were getting a serious beating, but they kept on moving forward. Finally after 12hrs 52 minutes they had made it to France. It was an incredible experience, especially under such arduous conditions. They were only 1 of 14 boats that attempted the channel swim on that day.

All in all it was absolutely amazing with them raising over £3,500 for charity, and learning a lot on the way, especially Rebecca who has gone from a novice swimmer, to a successful channel swimmer, she now has the open water swimming bug and has decided to carry on swimming and complete a solo 1-way of Windermere next summer, at a distance of 11miles. Please continue to support them by donating via their website: www.channelswimmers.co.uk. Donations will be open until 14 December.

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