Fourteen swimmers from Taunton School are taking on their toughest and furthest challenge yet – to swim around the island of Jersey – a distance of 41 miles.
Pupils Millie and Freya Tyler, Freddie and Flo Salter-Green, Hetty and Ollie James, Emma and Helen Hounslow, Ollie Heard, Darcie Coleman, Josh Green, Georgia Williams, Skyla Coate and Emily Lawton, who are in Years 8-13, will arrive in Jersey on Friday 24th August and take on the challenge in the best possible conditions during the following week. Supporting staff onboard and in kayaks will be Hamish McCarthy (swim coach and teacher), Ruth Coomber (teacher), Tom Raven (Teacher), Hayley Mortimer (Director of Sport) and Ed Burnett (Deputy Head).
The pupils are planning to swim in relay, in two teams, and will be accompanied by two support boats. They have been undertaking rigorous training during the last year in the school’s pool and in the sea, since May, including large wave swimming training.
They will be raising money for a charity close to the hearts of the school’s parents and staff, Holidays For Heroes Jersey, whose 10th anniversary falls that week. The charity provides free holidays on the island to any member or past member of HM Armed Forces with injuries, in mind or body, attributable to their service. The children will be raising awareness and celebrating with them.
Hamish McCarthy, Taunton School’s Long Distance swimming coach, said: “This is the most challenging swim yet because of the massive tides that make the 41 mile swim possible in an average of 10 hours. Also the large Atlantic swell experience around the north of the island and Grosnez Point means there will be large waves for our swimmers to contend with. There will be very strong currents and tidal races to get through but I am confident that this group of swimmers can do it.”
In May, the school’s Prep and Pre-Prep undertook a Jersey Challenge swimathon in the school’s swimming pool when all the children swam as many lengths as they could in 30 minutes and raised £1700 for the charity.
Open water swimming has become hugely popular at Taunton School over the last two years with pupils swimming across the English Channel, The Solent and The Bosporous as well as taking part in The Henley Classic swim, The St Michael’s Mount swim and Clevedon Long swim, amongst other challenges.