The Henley Mermaids (named after our WhatsApp group, are all members of the utterly wonderful Henley Open Water Swimming Club, and all love swimming in the Thames!
We mostly swim without wet-suits, (known as skins) all year round, the temperature in the river fluctuates much more than the sea sometimes getting up to 23 degrees in the summer and as low as 1.1 in the winter. We often take part in events, both locally and abroad. We have all swum the Thames Marathon, A 14km swim from Henley Bridge to Marlow Bridge. Some of us have been to Bled in Slovenia to take part in the Austrian majors, and some of us are returning for the Bled winter challenge in February, where we have to break the ice to get in! We've done night swims, summer solstice swims, winter solstice swims, and flower garland swims with the ever fantastic Ella Foote, otherwise known as the dip advisor!
We do consider ourselves slightly bonkers, mainly as we are told as much by dog walkers, and passers-buy as we yelp & yell getting into the water. We are all in agreement that one of the main reasons we love swimming so much is the friendships made, no-one cares what you look like, what job you have, or don't have, all are supportive of each other, as all open water swimmers with testify to there is great camaraderie between shivering swimmers.
I'm not sure now whose bright idea it was to swim the channel as a relay team, but as we all suffer from dreadful FOMO and in our usual gung-ho style we all agreed without much arm twisting.
We are looking forward to telling you our stories between now and our swim in June, our training swims, our laughs, ups, downs and worries. We hope you enjoy hearing about our progress, and perhaps we can persuade you to come and try a dip in the Thames.
The English Channel is the 21 mile stretch of water that separates England and France. The Channel has played its part in history over the past thousand years, and has now become the most iconic swim to tackle in the world.
Swimmers come from all over the world to attempt this 'Everest of Swimming'.