Sunday, 19 September 2021

You should try it, says marathon swimmer

A WOMAN raised £2,000 for charity by swimming from Leander Club in Henley to Marlow bridge.

A WOMAN raised £2,000 for charity by swimming from Leander Club in Henley to Marlow bridge.

Sue Nadin, of Park Road, Henley, was among hundreds of people who competed in the Thames Marathon Bridge to Bridge challenge on Sunday.

The 14km endurance event is organised by Henley Swim and is now in its sixth year.

Ms Nadin, 54, expects to receive £1,400 in sponsorship from friends and relatives plus £600 from DHL Supply Chain, her employer.

The proceeds will go to Rays of Sunshine, which grants wishes to seriously ill children, for a youngster with terminal leukaemia who wants to swim with dolphins.

Ms Nadin has taken part in the Henley Classic swim along the royal regatta course every year since 2009 and also swam the Bridge to Bridge in 2014.

This year, she reached Marlow in just under four-and-a-half hours, which is slower than her previous attempt but the river then was flowing faster due to flooding.

Julian Glasspole, a friend from Shiplake, followed her in his slipper launch along with Deputy Mayor Will Hamilton. Mr Glasspole had planned to take part and trained alongside Ms Nadin but had to pull out at the last minute.

Swimmers set off in three waves depending on their expected speed and Ms Nadin was in the second one.

The course was divided into four sections — Henley to Hambleden lock, then to Medmenham, then to Hurley and Temple Lock before the final push to Marlow bridge. At each stop the swimmers got out of the water to eat and drink.

Ms Nadin, who trained by swimming in the river five times a week, said: “I felt a rollercoaster of emotions throughout the race and the first half an hour was the worst.

“I was very nervous as we set off and it seemed to take forever to reach Temple Island. The second leg was also tough because it was 6km and, although the scenery was lovely, I didn’t know where I was and had no idea how much further I had left.

“I was very happy to reach Hurley and get another mug of tea. By then I was confident of finishing as I only had 4km to go.

“Towards the end I started getting cramp in my wrist. I was worried I’d end up swimming in circles with only one arm but luckily it sorted itself out and I made it.

“I couldn’t have done it without Julian and Will’s help. They gave me plenty of encouragement and hot, sugary tea at the rest stops then gave me a bottle of champagne on the way back.

“I feel very proud — I’m not an athlete by any means but it demonstrates what you can accomplish if you’re determined and have the right support.

“I love open water swimming because you can see the beautiful countryside around Henley from a different angle. It’s a shame more local people don’t do it but it brings lots of people in from outside, which is good for businesses.”

The fastest swimmer on Sunday was 16-year-old Henley Swim regular Sam Crabtree, from Kent, who completed the course in two hours and 31 minutes.

Six minutes behind him was Charles Cousins, a GB sculler of Bell Street, Henley, who missed out on competing at Rio after undergoing back surgery.

The last swimmer finished in six hours and five minutes.

Henley Swim co-founder Tom Kean said: “It’s noticeably easier if there has been rain in the weeks beforehand but we’ve had a dry period so nerves were a little more on edge.

“This is a true monster endurance swim but size, age, gender and shape seem to have little impact on people’s ability to take part in such an impressive endeavour.

“Almost 80 safety crew were on hand and, as in previous years, bonds of friendship were quickly made between those on the water and those in it.

“Our small army of volunteers deserves a huge thanks because without their time and energy it simply would not happen.”

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