The Thames Marvels: Six Marvellous Channel Swimmin’ Women

We are keeping everything crossed that Covid restrictions will have eased enough by the end of April so that we can run an Iconic Swims Channel Training weekend for this group of six intrepid women who have been training throughout the winter in the Thames for their English Channel relay attempt this summer.

Female Channel swimming relay team

The lure of the open water and an exciting challenge to support a relevant cause has drawn six ladies together for an English Channel relay swim. Towards the end of June/early July the Thames Marvels will attempt to swim, in ‘skins’, across the busiest shipping lane in the world, encountering jellyfish, unsettled weather, flotsam and jetsam, choppy waters and changeable currents.


Marika, Alaine, Rebecca, Vicky, Elizabeth (Liz) and Lee - their names spell the word ‘MARVEL’ - have taken up the challenge of battling against choppy seas to raise money for the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust. This charity was started by the family of Charlie Waller, a young man with depression who took his own life in 1997. They specialise in educating young people, and those responsible for them, about mental health and wellbeing, which is particularly relevant in these troubled times. They have become one of the most well-known and respected mental health charities in the UK and they aim to further reduce the stigma that still exists around mental health.

The Thames Marvels became friends through swimming with the Henley Open Water Swimming Club, an organisation that provides fellow enthusiasts the opportunity to dip all year round in the Thames and other rivers and lakes in the area, not to mention the sea just over an hour’s drive away. They have continued to train in the depths of winter with water temperatures plummeting to below 2°C, during a time when COVID restrictions and flooding have made safe swimming challenging. With swimming pools closed, the team have taken to zoom yoga, Pilates, running and kayaking to keep their fitness levels up during lockdown. The friendship and camaraderie of the group has kept everyone going through what could have been a difficult and lonely few months and the joy of being in the fresh water has been invigorating and refreshing, both physically and mentally.


The Marvels are looking forward to their channel crossing this summer and they very much hope that you will support this fantastic charity, because mental health matters.


Please support The Marvels, and the CWMT by visiting their Just Giving page


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