The Henley Swim team has announced the winners from its free places competition at this year’s Henley Mile open water swim event. Running for the third consecutive year, the competition was run in conjunction with Sport England’s This Girl Can initiative.
The Henley Swim team stated that ‘Six amazing women, including a mother and daughter, have each won a free place to swim a mile in the River Thames at The Henley Mile, an open water swimming event to be held in a beautiful stretch of the river in Oxfordshire on 9th July 2017.’ In association with This Girl Can, the event organiser wanted to encourage more women to get involved in outdoor swimming so ran a national UK competition for free places in the event along with support and advice in the run-up. The six successful applicants, ranging in age from 15 to 47, will now spend the next three months training for the event.
In addition to the training they will be blogging about their adventures. They will be describing in detail all elements of their journeys over the next few months, both positive and negative. More information on the women, including why they have got involved in the event, can also be found on the blog site thisgirlcanswim.com, along with the blogs from previous year’s swimmers.
This is the third year that Henley Swim have run this competition, many of the previous swimmers are still involved with the sport, including Alison Baker (61) who has continued to swim outside throughout the winter and Claire Bennett (45) who is currently training for an English Channel Relay.
Henley Swim co-founder Tom Kean said “Once again we have been overwhelmed by the numbers of women who have entered our This Girl Can competition. This is a hugely important and enjoyable initiative for us, and each year the job of whittling down the entries to our finalist gets bigger. It’s clear there are many different motivations for all our swimmers, but what it does show is how getting outside of your comfort zone adds meaning and excitement to life.”
He continued, “Swimming is one of those rare sports that is truly gender neutral, and with This Girl Can, we hope to introduce more ladies to a sport where they can excel on a personal level. In 2016, there were more female swimmers than males at the Henley Mile, which bucks the trend for most mass participation events and is a statistic of which we are proud.”