Tears and tough training but girls ready to swim Channel
PUBLISHED: 14:46 05 July 2013 | UPDATED: 14:46 05 July 2013
It is a mammoth challenge which has eluded some of the strongest swimmers known to man.
But that hasn’t stopped six 12 and 13-year-old girls – four from Islington – who are set to enter the history books as they defiantly prepare to swim the English Channel.
In preparation for the charity splash, the group – called 6 Girls No Buoys – are undergoing a punishing and relentless training regime, spending hours in Hyde Park’s Serpentine Lake while travelling to Dover Harbour at the weekends.
With the youngest person ever to swim the Channel being 11 – and the second youngest 15 – the girls are set to become some of the youngest swimmers ever to have overcome the feat.
Ella de Peretti, 13, of Kingsdown Road, Upper Holloway, said: “I’m feeling really excited, even though I know it’s going to be tough, because the training has been fun.
“I think the most nervous bit is being in the sea by yourself because you can’t see anything. It’s a bit scary because I don’t like jellyfish and I don’t want to run in to any.
“We still have a bit of work to do to be ready but I’m confident we will get there.”
The girls will set off from Dover on August 27 at 2am and rotate in hourly shifts until they reach France in a relay-style swim.
They hope to complete the 21 mile marathon splash in at least 20 hours and will be flanked by a safety boat manned by expert swimmers throughout.
Daredevils often wait up to two years for a designated slot to swim the Channel, due to it being the busiest shipping stretch in the world.
However, Rob Ouldcott, the girls’ trainer, who swam the Channel last year, revealed how he was offered a slot after a fellow swimmer pulled out.
He then put together the team of six with his daughter Lily, who is also one of the swimmers.
Mr Ouldcott said: “Most weekends I reduce three out of six of them to tears, because I’m pushing them so hard.
“You do it on a Saturday and they’re crying and shaking from cold but then they’re there on the Sunday morning, ready to do it again.
“They understand that to get to the ability to swim the Channel they have to push themselves beyond what they’ve ever imagined before.”
Poppy Boswell, of Balfour Road, Highbury, 13, said: “The only bit I find hard is the cold. I will be fine with the distance and I’m really excited about the achievement, but hopefully I will be OK with the cold soon.”
Poppy and Ella, along with Hana Sanei and Millie Elson, also from Islington, and Minnie Elson and Minne Fawcett-Tang, from Hackney and Muswill Hill respectively, are hoping to raise £25,000.
The money will go towards Camden School for Girls – which four of them attend – the Motor Neurone Disease Association and charity Room To Read.
To donate visit www.justgiving.com/teams/6Grls0Buoys
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Islington Gazette. Click the link in the orange box below for details.