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20 September 2013, 07:06
An endurance swimmer from Gosport's starting her attempt to swim solo and non-stop around the Isle of Wight.
37-year-old Anna Wardley is to attempt the distance of nearly 60 miles to raise money for charity. If successful, she will be the first in almost three decades to complete this feat.
It is the fifth and final island in Anna's two-year Five Island Swim Challenge, in aid of the Samaritans, Sail Africa and the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust, a charity based on the Isle of Wight. Anna has set a fundraising target of £50,000, and to date has raised in excess of £40,000 through her swimming challenges, including solo swims across the English Channel, the Gibraltar Straits and the Hellespont from Europe to Asia, and two lengths of Windermere in the Lake District.
Only three people have ever completed the swim around the Isle of Wight. If successful, Anna, who is sponsored by Navitus Bay, will be the first since 1984
Anna has already successfully completed circumnavigations of Dragonera off the coast of Mallorca (10km, 6.2 miles), Portsea Island in Hampshire (21km, 13 miles) and Jersey in the Channel Islands (66km, 41 miles) but bitterly cold water, lion's mane jellyfish and foul tides forced her to abandon her attempt to become the first person to swim around Tiree in the Inner Hebrides, 20 miles and more than 16 hours into the 30-mile challenge on 13 August 2013.
The 56.4-mile (90.1km) Isle of Wight solo swim - which Anna will attempt under the rules of the British Long Distance Swimming Association wearing just a standard swimming costume, goggles and a swimming cap - will be the pinnacle of her swimming career to date.
The swim will begin from Ryde which, historically, is where every successful solo round Isle of Wight swim has begun.
It is anticipated Anna will take approximately 30 hours to complete the swim. She will swim non-stop, feeding every hour for the first three hours and then every 30 minutes.
Anna's tweeted saying:
"Hard to get my head around what I'm about to put my mind & body through over next 2 days but life has prepared me well for these challenges.
"Just woke up and had that 'crikey I'm about to swim round the Isle of Wight' feeling."
She will become only the eighth Briton to swim for more than 24 hours.