I was born in Zambia and moved to South Africa as a 7 year old. I have 4 brothers who were all top class sportsmen, all playing some form of top class rugby. I certainly inherited the will but, as with most things in my life, I'm just a very good average. I have been married to Errol for close on 40 adventurous years. During the middle years he ran 10 Two Oceans Marathons. We have 5 children, 3 children in law and 11 grandchildren. I am a music teacher, teaching flute, piano and recorder.
When did I start swimming and why?
I don't ever remember not being able to swim, but I only ever trained at school, only once swimming provincially, and that by default. During my Varsity days I did almost no formal sport music was just too hectic. Once my children started learning to swim I took to training and also joined them doing Life Saving. I was also a Scouter and the best course I have ever attended was for my Water Charge Certificate, run over a freezing weekend in August on a pan in Welkom, it was absolutely brilliant. I have also done lots of running and cycling, having participated in Two Oceans and Comrades, as well as Cape Town Cycle Tour.
Having arthritis and fibromyalgia, which bring on many challenges, at present I mainly swim, though I love shuffling around and am very involved in parkrun.
What has been my biggest achievement?
I think helping other people reach their potential, swimming, running or cycling when they thought they couldn't, is for me tops; and encouraging all our crazies doing amazing swims. Gosh what a privilege to cheer them on!
On a personal side I see all my events as great achievements and am always very grateful for being able to do things, but my Ice Mile must rank as one of my greatest achievements. Another non-swimming one was pushing a totally exhausted and disorientated New Zealander, Jon, up Poll Shorts. After the push and a whole bottle of game he recoverd and went on to complete Comrades.
My most difficult Swim
I think my second Deep Blue swim at St Helena Bay must rate as one of my toughest swims. All the elements were against us that day and swimmers fell like flies. I stuck it out until the very last km or so when the off shore wind and currents just would not allow me to make progress. That was when my vision decided there must be two light houses because they kept changing places! Eventually, when my paddler was as exhausted as I was, and no more swimmers were in the water, Derrick made the decision to take me out! Made total sense since I was almost going backwards but I was not happy!
My easiest Swim
Oh my word, I've only had one easy Robben Island crossing. Swimming with Santie, the water was 14 degrees, the sun was shining, the water was glorious and every thing was easy.
My funniest Moment
That's easy, Darren was my skipper and we'd had an "interesting" swim. Suddenly I realised I'd left him behind! Stopping to ask what the problem was I was informed they'd run out of fuel, they were rowing! For once I was able to out swim my boat! Derrick had to come to the rescue. While they were refuelling I was told to aim for the gap in the horizon and they'd meet me soon enough. Bare in mind my vision, rocks and surf and reflections make for hilarious multifaceted views. I was very relieved when Darren was again by my side, we laughed our way through that swim!
My scariest Moment
Two very scary times, my first Cape Point swim, my butt does not sink, so with the hellish dumpers at the start I was knocked unconscious and only came around standing on the beach again, entering that surf again. Eish terrifying!
My second Cape Point swim, my boatman did not believe in staying close to me! It didn't matter what I said or tried, I was always behind the boat imagining big men in grey suits in the extremely clear, sushi filled, sun dappled depths with head on waves. Every time I did get near the boat I was stung by the shark shield! Not a scary moment, an absolutely terrifying 4 hours 50 minutes!
Do I have a Robben Island target or goal?
I am about to swim my 30th Robben Island crossing. Many of them I have absolutely loved, some I've hated from the word go. Some have taken for ever! My longest being 4 hours 24, just the other day! I do not have a target, but I will continue to swim as long as I am able.
Life after Swimming
I absolutely love swimming, but it is not my life. I am far too busy with family, work and church commitments, never mind friends, to ever be able to swim several hours every day, I would love to. The day will come when my disabilities prevent me from swimming. I will cope with that and will just have to move onto the next phase.
My ultimate Goal
On a swimming front, I will never have the money to do big swims overseas so I will just cherish the special waters we are gifted with in South Africa.
On a personal level, I have a very firm relationship with God and daily marvel at His Creation. My aim is to just glory in the wonders of our Earth, giving Him praise and honour in all I do. If I can inspire and help my fellow athletes along the way. Thank you Lord!