Lindsey Cole completes Thames mermaid swim

Adventurer and campaigner Lindsey Cole completed her 120-mile length-of-Thames swim exactly on schedule on 24 November 2018 at the Anglers pub next to Teddington Lock, which marks the upper limit of the tidal section of the Thames. Her finish coincided with an exceptionally high spring tide, which for a few minutes overtopped the weir at Teddington and required Lindsey to swim against the current for a short section.

Calling herself the “Urban Mermaid”, Lindsey has spent three weeks swimming every day (with a mermaid tale) in the Thames for several hours at a time as water temperatures have dropped to around 5 degrees. To help her cope with the bone-chilling water, Lindsey has been wearing two wetsuits and two pairs of gloves. After losing one of her gloves further up river, a fireman donated a spare.

Along the way she, and her support team, have been clearing rubbish from the river and inspiring people she’s met along their way to pick up litter. She’s also been visiting schools and meeting local eco-warriors.

Lindsey has been accompanied throughout by her friend and artist Barbara de Moubray, who’s been paddling the support kayak. Barbara has also made a giant mermaid sculpture out of discarded plastic which accompanied the pair and earned the nickname “Samantha”.

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Plastic mermaid on tour

As she’s travelled down the Thames, other swimmers and river users have joined Lindsey to show their support. For her final 6km stretch from Thames Ditton to Teddington, she was joined by a small flotilla of kayaks and SUPs, as well as a friend, Jack, who dived in to swim alongside. A crowd of well wishers gathered at Teddington Lock to celebrate her finish.

Our contributor Ella Foote met Lindsey at the start of her amazing challenge and we’ve published the full interview in our December 2018 issue, which is available on this link until Christmas.

You can support the Urban Mermaid here:

From Katia1

“Samantha” takes a well earned rest at the Anglers in Teddington after her 120-mile journey down the Thames with Barbara (far left) and Lindsey (middle). Picture (c) Katia Vastiau.

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I created Outdoor Swimmer in 2011 (initially as H2Open Magazine) as an outlet for my passion for swimming outdoors. I've been a swimmer and outdoor swimmer for as long as I remember. Swimming has made a huge difference to my life and I want to share its joys and benefits with as many people as possible. I am also the author of Swim Wild & Free: A Practical Guide to Swimming Outdoors 365 a Year and I provide one-to-one support to swimmers through Swim Mentoring.