Thursday, December 12th, 2019

Two down in Five Island Challenge

Published on November 27, 2012 by   ·   No Comments

Back in April this year we introduced you to British endurance swimmer, Anna Wardley, and her Five Island Swim Challenge in aid of favourite charities Samaritans, Sail Africa and Toe in the Water.  Seven months on and Anna has successfully ticked two of the five off the list and has already raised a mighty £36,000, just £14,000 short of her £50,000 target.

Island number one took place on 27 May, the Mallorcan island of Sa Dragonera, an uninhabited designated natural park which presented Anna with seven miles of swimming to get round it.  Anna says, “It was supposed to be a warm-up for the tougher swims to come, but the lead-up ensured it was anything but and it proved to be much tougher than I’d expected.  First of all I stood on a nail ripping a chunk out of the bottom of my foot around a month ago when I returned from my long distance training camp in Gozo, and then I picked up a chest infection wiping out all my energy.  Not perfect preparation by any means and it left me feeling very nervous.”

Anna with her coach Michelle Navay

Embarking on a course of antibiotics, Anna flew out to Mallorca as planned and set off from the tiny Sa Dragonera harbour at 9am on the Saturday morning.  Facing tricky currents and battling strong winds and waves, Anna also had to put up with leaky goggles which filled her eyes with painful saltwater for the duration of the swim.  Nonetheless the feat was completed in four hours and 40 minutes with Anna proud and relieved to have succeeded after such an unexpected and tricky build-up.

Anna triumphs on M&S sweets

Next stop was Portsea in Hampshire, a 13 mile swim Anna tackled on 19 June in seven hours, 20 minutes and 50 seconds.  Swimming in 13ºC water, five or six degrees lower than she was used to in Mallorca, Anna kept her energy levels up every half an hour or so with high-energy drinks and snacks – including her beloved Percy Pigs and Mars Bars.

Anna said after the event, “It was absolutely amazing and I couldn’t have hoped for better conditions.  Swimming through Portsmouth Harbour past HMS Warrior and the Spinnaker Tower felt incredible.  In fact I had to be careful not to get too distracted otherwise my support crew would have had stern words.  Months of meticulous planning have gone into making this swim happen, so often the easy part is to turn up and swim, and with today’s conditions it was a pleasure.”

Next up for Anna is a huge 41 miles around the Channel Island of Jersey in June 2013.  She’ll then switch from south to north and tackle the Hebridean Island of Tiree in August, a 30 mile swim in water that is unlikely to reach more than 13 degrees.  Island number five, the culmination of the swimathon, is the Isle of Wight in September 2013.  Her chosen charities are extremely grateful of her herculean efforts and are cheering her on all the way.

To keep up to date with progress or make a donation, visit




Tags: , ,

Readers Comments (0)

Comments are closed.


FAR COLUMN: Add Widgets