Tara Dudley added to Exmouth Swimming & Life Saving Society growing reputation for producing successful English Channel swimmers after completing her gruelling challenge of swimming from Dover to France. Swimming to raise money for Cancer Research she completed the challenge in 12 hours and 50 minutes on Friday the 10th of August.
Tara, 26, set a target of £1,000 and has to date beaten that target raising over £1,193.00 with the total still being added to on a daily basis. After many years of completing long distance swims she dedicated three years of her life to a gruelling training regime & is relieved to have completed the extraordinary challenge.
She was guided to France by the escort trawler “Viking Princess” with her support team and the official observer from the Channel Swimming Association on board the boat. Setting foot on the boat at approximately 3.30am in the morning was something they were prepared for as the swim was scheduled to start at the same time on the previous day but was cancelled at the last minute by the English Coastguard due to dense fog.
Tara who is a teacher at Thorverton, Church of England Primary School entered the water at Shakespear Beach, Dover at 4.03am after being covered in two full tubs of Vaseline to prevent her from suffering from early morning chills and skin sores. The weather conditions were perfect with light winds and a calm sea being in place for the majority of the swim. She took to swimming in the channel as if it was a second nature, hit all her stroke rate targets & strategic goals throughout the day and was buoyed by the warmth of the sun on her back.
Swimming through some of the busiest shipping lanes in the world, the Viking Princess piloted by Reg Brickell ensured there were no close encounters with any vessels. Jelly fish which are normally a common problem for channel swimmers never showed on the day and made for a less stressful swim for Tara.
Being energised by hourly breaks conducted by Barry Westaway she took on sugary drinks and homemade flapjacks, this helped ensure Tara remained in high spirits. Her coach Alan Franks closely monitored her stroke rate and swim strategy throughout the swim leaving no time for rest for himself.
Understandably tired towards the end of the swim, Tara was cheered on by her support team, which included two previously successful Exmouth S&LSS English Channel swimmers Alan Franks and Olly White, this support helped push her through the inevitable fatigue. Then with the current Olympic spirit in her mind she completed the swim 400 metres west from the small French village of Wissant.
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