Mary's English Channel Swim

Mary's English Channel Swim
  • Date: Thursday, 02 August 2018

In August this year, Mary Stoddart will be swimming The English Channel to raise funds for PKU.

The English Channel is 34 km at it’s shortest distance between Dover and Cap Gris Nez and this is the route swimmers TRY to take. There are a few people who have died trying to swim the Channel. There are tides going in opposite directions near the shores of England and France so, unless you are Trent Grimsey and can swim faster than the tides, most swimmers get caught in the flow and end up travelling in an ‘s’ shape.The trick is to get through these tides before you are carried off to Scotland or Norway. The swim, depending on conditions, should take about 16 hours.

I’m not sure when this crazy idea first came but I remember chatting with the girls at my local Jindalee pool in late 2015 about doing something adventurous for our upcoming 50th and 60th birthdays in 2017. Next, I remember listening to David Walliams talk about his E.C. swim on the Graham Norton show and how he raised big money for charity and I thought that if he could do it maybe I could too. (He didn’t look particularly fit!) So I did some research and discovered that not only did the world record holder for E.C., Trent Grimsey, live in Brisbane but his brother, Ridge, was the new coach at Jindalee pool. I hadn’t told anyone yet but then another coincidence made me think that perhaps this was ‘meant to be’ and gave me the courage to email Trent. Unbeknownst to me five other ladies at Jindalee had been quietly making plans to swim the E.C. as a team. When we all found out about each other we were aghast! Trent was very helpful and told me who to contact in the UK and before I knew it I had a swim date booked for two and a half years hence…plenty of time to back out ? The other ladies booked at the same time. Sometime in August 2-8th, 2018 was our date with destiny.

I never was a particularly great swimmer, I didn’t do squad as a child and was only swimming socially about 6km a week two years ago. For the past two years I have been slowly building my weekly distance and trying to improve my stroke efficiency. I am now swimming 25-30 km a week, every 4th week is a ‘rest’ of 20 km.

My dear friend Julie Pankhurst has an amazing son James who happens to have a rare inherited metabolic disease named Phenylketonuria (PKU). As PKU is a rare metabolic disorder, and as many people have not heard of it, the community is reluctant to provide their support. 

I am hoping to raise a significant amount of money to be used for research with the aim of improving the lives of people with PKU and enabling the diet to be less restrictive. I have set up an everyday hero page to help raise funds.

Wish me luck!