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Gosport Endurance Swimmer to Tackle Portsea Island as Part of Five Island Swim

Published: 13th June 2012 20:47

 Gosport-based endurance swimmer Anna Wardley, 36, will tackle the second stage of her Five Island Swim
Challenge next Tuesday (19 June) with a solo and non-stop swim around Portsea island.

The 21-km (13-mile) swim is expected to take around seven hours during which Anna will negotiate one of the UK's busiest commercial and Naval harbours, accompanied by an experienced support team on board RIBs and kayaks.

Anna will enter the water at Eastney beach in Portsmouth at 0950 BST on Tuesday to commence the swim at 1000
BST. She will be swimming round the island in an anti-clockwise direction, north through Langstone Harbour before swimming under the Eastern Road (A2030) bridge at approximately 1130 BST to tackle the challenging stretch to the north of Portsea around high water.

She is expected to reach Tipner Point at 1pm, and will swim down through Portsmouth Harbour to reach a point off Gunwharf Quays around 3pm before heading back along Southsea beach and then Eastney beach where she is expected to finish at around 5pm.

In her Five Island Swim Challenge over two years, Anna is swimming around five islands covering a total of 150 miles to raise funds for the Samaritans, Toe in the Water and Sail Africa. Since taking up open water swimming in 2007, she has successfully swam the English Channel, the Gibraltar Strait and the Hellespont Straits between Europe and Asia raising more than £35,000 for charity in the process.

Although shorter than some of her previous swims, the swim round Portsea will be equally as challenging due to the traffic in the busy harbour, strong tides, complex navigation and bitterly cold water.

"It'll great to be swimming so close to home with all the familiar landmarks and local support. This swim will be extremely challenging, not only due to the vessel movements, the cold water and strong tides but also in terms of the complex logistics and extensive planning required to undertake the swim safely," Anna said.

"It has required months of meticulous planning but I'm fit and ready to go, and it'll be a relief to finally get in the water and start swimming on Tuesday," she said.

"I'd like to thank QHM, Langstone Harbour Master and Solent Coastguard for their assistance, as well as the many local companies who are supporting me including Haslar Marina, Crewsaver, Brittany Ferries, The Wild Group, The Marine Advertising Agency, Avoncraft and Clipper Ventures," Anna added.

Last month Anna started her latest campaign of extreme swims when she swam round the island of Dragonera off the south west coast of Mallorca. Next week's swim round Portsea will provide a stark contrast to her last swim in the Mediterranean, as the water temperature is likely be just 13 degrees Celsius.

If successful next week, Anna will become the first person to complete a solo swim around Portsesa Island recognised the British Long Distance Swimming Association, the organisation which ratifies such swims in the UK. The BLDSA rules state that Anna must wear just a swimsuit, cap and goggles, use no artificial aids and must not make contact with anyone or anything during the swim.

In order to meet the BLDSA's requirements for an inaugural record swim, three observers in kayaks will accompany Anna throughout her circumnavigation of Portsea Island. Each kayaker will be carrying a stopwatch to ensure that her swim time is recorded accurately.

Meteorologist Simon Rowell is providing Anna and her support team with weather information ahead of the Portsea swim. For the moment the forecast is looking good for the swim to go ahead on Tuesday. "The North Atlantic High is
forecast to come north again, and if it does and sits over us as is forecast there will be light and variable winds, scattered cloud cover and the chance of occasional showers for Anna's Round Portsea swim," Simon said.

In case of bad weather, the contingency date for Anna's swim around Portsea Island is Friday 22 June.

For updates during Anna's swim round Portsea Island follow Anna on Twitter @annawardley

For more information visit: www.annawardley.com

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