Thursday, 07 July 2022

We swimmers are social distancing

We swimmers are social distancing

Sir, — On behalf of the Henley Mermaids, I would like to respond to Sarah Whittaker’s letter headlined “Remember the message” (Standard, June 12).

Firstly, I would like to confirm that the picture used for the article about the Mermaids’ impending Channel relay swim, published the previous week, was indeed taken in October last year, when there were no social distancing regulations to be considered.

The article did also outline the manner in which each of the five Mermaids were maintaining individual fitness for our swim challenge as group training sessions in swimming pools and rivers were not possible during lockdown.

To the readers of the Henley Standard, and most particularly to our many supporters who have so generously donated to Henley Music School, which is the charity that the Mermaids are raising funds for, I can confirm that during the lockdown, the Mermaids have complied with the guidelines of Public Health England and, in the main, have been maintaining fitness on our own or with members of our respective households.

At all times, the safety of our team members and those around us is of paramount importance to us. Thankfully, swimming is one sport where social distancing can be very easily maintained and, with restrictions easing, the Mermaids have now been able to resume team training sessions, one of which took place in Dover last weekend.

While individual fitness is very important, operating as a cohesive team for such a challenge is equally important and the two one-hour training sessions we had at Dover have helped ensure that we are all more acclimatised to the temperatures and dynamics of ocean swimming for the challenge ahead.

Finally, our Channel relay swim will only happen when we are legally entitled to do it and when we are all assured that social distancing measures can be maintained while we undertake the challenge, which we hope will be in the latter half of this summer.

For readers who are keen to track our progress, details are available on our blog site,

Donations would be most gratefully received via our fundraising page, — Yours faithfully,

Joan Fennelly

On behalf of the Henley Mermaids (Laura Reineke, Jo Robb, Fiona Print, Susan Barry and myself)

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