Monday, February 08, 2010

Irish swimmer

We've cut-and-pasted this marvellous story from the POST and attached a Rottnest swim numberplate we spotted in Swanbourne on the weekend...

Jennifer Hurley not only wants to finish the Rottnest Channel Swim – she wants to attend the after party as well.

Last year was the Irish swimmer's first Rottnest swim: she did well, but passed out after she made it to Thomson Bay.

“I loved it, but it was longer than I expected,” she told the POST by phone from Cork this week.

“I had a few hiccups at the start, and I made a mistake with my sun-cream.

“I didn't put it on at the start, and I dropped it in the water while I was swimming – and got very badly burnt.”

Jennifer, a 37-year-old mother of five, is doing the Rottnest swim in preparation for her first English Channel swim later this year.

The European event is nearly twice as long as the Rottnest one: the strong tides change every six hours, it is one of the world's busiest shipping lanes and only half of the solo swimmers finish the swim.

Jennifer has done a lot of open swimming and the Rottnest event is a favourite.

“I loved it last year,” she said.

“The water is so warm compared to Ireland – and you can see the bottom all the way across.

“The atmosphere is tremendous and the solo swimmers get cheers from everyone.”

Jennifer is originally from Perth and moved to Ireland 12 years ago.

She has always loved swimming but only started competing in open water events when she moved to Europe.

Swims she has done include various events on the Shannon River in Ireland, a 10km swim at Nice in France, and Escape from Alcatraz in San Francisco.

“They keep me sane,” she said.

“I also really love red wine and chocolate, so they keep me fit as well.”

Jennifer is raising money through her English Channel swim for Barretstown, a charity in the Wicklow Mountains in Ireland which helps children with cancer and other illnesses.

“It's a magical castle in the foothills of the mountain where kids go for fun,” she said.

“I'm hoping to raise 10,000 euros or more.”

Her children, who are aged between eight and 19, helped her choose which charity would benefit from her swim.

“If the kids aren't on board, the swimming doesn't work,” she said.

“I sat down with them and we threw around some ideas – and they decided who to support.”

Jennifer arrives in Perth five days before the February 20 Rottnest swim.

After the 19km event she will spend two weeks here with family and friends.

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