As a child swimming was one of the only sports that felt accessible to me. From school trips and the baths to a splash about in the sea, the water provided a release and place of pure enjoyment. However sadly, as a young adult I became unwell with severe mental ill-health and this took the enjoyment out of many things in life, swimming included. A once confident, bright kid, I became a seriously diminished version of myself.



After several years of struggle however, thankfully, my health began to improve and with that my lust for life, and swimming, slowly returned. A friend mentioned there was a triathlon club that you could join to get access to a lake swimming session so I did, after seeing how passionate the other members were about taking part in events I decided to give triathlon a go! I didn’t own any fancy kit, so I picked an event that was suitable for beginners, got myself round, and felt such a sense of accomplishment.

Fast forward ten years and I was training for an Ironman. Triathlon by this point played a huge part in my life and really helped me manage my mental health. I'll admit it - I was somewhat obsessed! I just loved the focus it gave me & dedication it required, with the added bonus of making some great mates along the way.

Then, another curve-ball. I was diagnosed with severe osteo-arthritis and shortly after, lupus. With the symptoms and prognosis came a raft of frighteningly familiar, unwanted thoughts and feelings. My goal of raising £1000's for charity through completing my first full distance event could not have felt further away. I was advised to put much of the training that had kept me feeling so buoyant to the back of my mind, it was no longer accessible to me and that left a huge hole in my day to day life.

I was determined not to let this get me down for long, it just couldn't. So I worked tirelessly with physios, a drastically amended exercise schedule and the pain management clinic to try and get myself back on track and beat the more negative prognosis' I had received. Sure, I'd never complete the Ironman...but what could I do?! Once again, swimming was the answer. If I can't run a marathon I shall try my hardest to swim one. I built back up slowly but surely and am now, health permitting, delighted to be taking part in the Dart10k for Level Water in September.

Swimming to me is the perfect blend of exhilaration, challenge, laughs, adventure and fitness. It’s been a lifeline but it’s the discipline I’m most naturally drawn to. Training for the Dart10k has been great and I’m loving every minute of it. I swam a 5k PB recently which has given me a massive boost. I just need to ramp up my fundraising, stay consistent, positive and injury free. Then I’ll know when I arrive on the day I’ve given it my very best shot, no matter what.

I also want to share my passion for open water swimming with others. Another massive draw to taking part in this event is the money it raises for Level Water, meaning the charity can give the gift of swimming to kids that will really benefit.

I'm also training to be a qualified open water swimming coach and sit on a local triathlon board TriBramley Baths, as Inclusion Lead. Swimming has played a significant part in my recovery, it's bolstered my resilience and ability to manage multiple health conditions. It is my therapy. My adventure. My pain relief. And the wonderful, supportive people I've met on this journey make it all the better.

About the Dart10k

Covering one of the most beautiful stretches of river in the UK, the Dart 10k is the first and, arguably, the finest 10k swim on the calendar. Join hundreds of swimmers as they take a soulful swim down the River Dart, enjoying local landmarks including Cormorant Tree, Sharpham boathouse and Bow Creek. A journey – not a race – Dart 10k is noted for its spirit of inclusion and sense of community, ending with a festival on Dittisham Green.

For more information and tickets visit

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