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Elizabeth Fry

Porthcawl to Heddons Mouth Devon

Swim time:  9hours 24minutes 10 seconds

Start: Sandy Bay Porthcawl

Finish: Heddons Mouth Devon

Observer:      Lili May Mustoe

Pilot:              Ceri Davies

Ratified by the BCSA. This completes the Original Triple Crown for Liz and also sets a new female fastest aggregate time. 

Swimmers report:

Several years ago I was looking at a map of the UK and saw the Bristol Channel and wondered if anyone swam between Wales and England. However, I could not find much on the internet.  I have a very close tie to the UK as my father was English and came to the USA after fighting in WWII.  My immediate extended family lives in the UK and I have dual citizenship. It was just a thought at the time to find another swim in the UK and spend time visiting my spiritual home.

The Bristol Channel became a reality when I met Elaine Burrows Dillane last year in Ireland a few weeks she was attempting her swim. I am a person that likes traditions and legacies like the Original Triple Crown. There was more information available about Bristol Channel swims and the rich history.   I was especially interest because of the challenge of the conditions and strength & height of the tides.  Elaine’s swim showed the courage and determination required to successfully swim this course which made me want to attempt it more.

I planned the swim by reaching out to Elaine who guided me to Tom Chapman and Ceri Davies. Both Tom and Ceri were very responsive and, by utilizing the organization and piloting websites, I was able to secure the date, submit the required documentation, and make payments.  We rented a home in The Mumbles; the town has a seaside promenade and a safe area to swim at high tide while waiting.

The swim went well.  It was nice to have calm seas for a change.  The biggest challenge was the long time fighting the tide to make progress to land. I typically have a blank mind when I swim and I feed every hour. I admittedly was frustrated at a time, as I was not aware of the tide situation and where the landing point I was aiming for.  However, I always have complete trust in my pilot and crew and know they are doing everything they can for the success of a swimmer.  My job was to just keep swimming.

I am thrilled to have had the opportunity and am an ambassador for the Bristol Channel.

Beautiful swim and terrific organization and pilot!

Observers report:

We started out from Swansea on Cobra the Liz (swimmer) made all the preparations for her swim with her family members assisting on arrival in Porthcawl.

Liz swam to shore and signalled so that we could see that she was free of the water. We had had rain on the journey over from Swansea but only light and at the start of the swim, conditions and visibility were good.

Liz started the swim at 8.56am and the water temperature measured 19.2 degrees. There was a very light south westerly wind and the initial stroke rate was 60spm. Liz switched her goggles after 10 minutes as the chosen goggles were leaking. The handover of the goggles and all feeds were completed under marathon swimming rules.

There was minimal boat traffic sighted throughout the day although there was a seal sighting which passed about 50 metres away and followed the boat for a short time.

Stroke rate remained between 60-63 for the duration of the swim and after 7 hours of swimming, the swimmer adjusted to the turn of the tide.

Conditions were almost perfect with blue skies and sea and Liz was able to land on the beach and raised both hands to signal that she had done so.

Liz had been accompanied to shore by the pilot, Ceri in a small rib, just in case she needed assistance back to the boat. Liz refused this and swam back to the Shee Ann and climbed easily back on board in good spirits and good physical condition.



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