The 2nd Wild West Solent Swim takes place on Sunday July 15th. 70 swimmers have signed up for what will undoubtedly be the biggest ever Cross Solent Swim.
Swimmers are raising money for West Wight Sports Centre Trust – the charity that provides sports and leisure facilities in the rurally isolated West Wight. Some will also be supporting a range of other charities of their own choice with causes as far reaching as the Third world, cancer, animal protection, and disabled children.
Image: Isle of Wight Solent Lady Swimmers 2011. Janie Martin (left) and Madeline Goodman (right) Image Copyright Lorraine Skipper.
Amongst those swimming will be ex- international disabled swimmer, Gary Watson; TV presenter, Jo Sinnott (who will be accompanied by a film crew); BBC Panorama editor, Ingrid Kelly (swimming for the 2nd year in a row); and veteran marathon runner, Madeline Goodman. The oldest swimmer will be Peter Butchers who will be 77 on the day of the swim.
Centre Manager, Clare Griffin said “We have been overwhelmed by the level of support for our Cross Solent Swim. It’s started as an idea 2 years ago and we thought it would be a one off. But it’s grown into something quite amazing – people seem to be inspired by the concept of swimming across the Solent, but it’s also been incredible that so many people want to support West Wight Sports Centre and put themselves out to raise money to help us continue to operate in these difficult economic times”
The swim is a huge undertaking – as well as the 70 swimmers there will be 40 kayakers acting as escorts , 10 or more RIBS and safety boats as well as both Freshwater Lifeboats all on the water. Shoreside there will be a further team of volunteers. All in all it will be quite a spectacle. Coordinating the safety back up and planning the event round tides, Solent traffic, and daylight hours is Fiona Thorpe.
Fiona said “Safety is paramount and we have spent an awful lot time liaising with Coastguards, Lifeboat crew, and many others to ensure the event runs smoothly. The one thing out of our control is the weather – so we are praying that summer will come soon!”
The swimmers have been training in the pool at West Wight Sports Centre, but are now having to brave the sea to start to aclimatise to the conditions.
Swimmer, Brenda Craddock said “I’ve been in the sea once so far – it wasn’t as cold as I thought it would be and I wore a rash vest and not a wet suit. I’m really looking forward to the big day!”
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