The greatest challenge for an open-water swimmer is the Oceans 7. Challengers must cross seven sea channels, selected by the World Open Water Swimming Association to push an endurance swimmer to their limits. Only six people have completed all seven swims.
Next up: Beth French, a self-employed single mother who home-schools her son with special needs and sea-swims for sanity. A multi-disciplinary physical therapist and meditation teacher in Taunton via her business Beth French Total Body Worx and a FSB member, she is taking on the whole Oceans 7 list in a single year. Early on, she had her future all but wiped out by being ill from the age of 10 and winding up in a wheelchair at 17.
Retrospectively, she was diagnosed with myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME). “Swimming and being in the sea gave me back my body,” she says.
Each of the Oceans 7 swims is a significant feat in itself. Some have only ever been achieved by a handful of people. Attempting all seven in a year will test the limit of what is believed possible. Beth is swimming to boost awareness of ME, raise funds for health charity Action for ME, and inspire others to challenge their limits. To date, it’s going well, she says. “I have swum the English Channel, become the first person to swim from Cornwall to the Isles of Scilly, and the first British woman to swim the Molokai Channel in Hawaii.”
All Beth’s remaining swims are GPS-trackable. The links will be put out on her website at bethfrench.co.uk and via Facebook /bethfrenchlives and Twitter @bethsbigswim