Woman swims to France while tied to her washing line

Karen Sandford Swim Challenge Finish 4

Karen Sandford of Harlow, Essex, has completed the unenviable challenge of ‘swimming the Channel’ in a paddling pool in her back garden.

Karen swam 21 miles (plus a little extra for luck) and raised over £1,500 for charity in the process.

“Swimming the width of the Channel in what is a fairly small pool has certainly been a challenge and had its ups and downs,” said Karen.

Karen Sandford Swim Challenge

Karen spent a total of 30 hours and three minutes over 62 days swimming in 6-foot paddling pool while tied to her washing line with a bungee cord. She began her paddling pool feat in April and faced all the infamous English weather had to throw at her – battling through rain, wind and sunshine with pool temperatures measuring from 11 to 23 degrees.

On touching land in ‘France’ (her back garden fence), Karen said: “I can’t believe it – when I first started swimming in the pool I only wanted to swim 10km – I’ve now completed over 34km!”

Karen Sandford Swim Challenge Finish 3

Karen is a regular swimmer with Team Pants at Redricks Lake, as well as being a Salvation Army Major. She wanted a challenge that would not only help her keep fit and manage her mental health but also raise money for Harlow Salvation Army Corps to help some of the most vulnerable people in society in these difficult times.

You can still donate to Karen’s Just Giving page to help her raise even more funds for the Salvation Army by visiting: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/harlow-corps-the-salvation-army1?

01 Cover January

Issue 45 January 2021

  • The Northumbrian adventurer blazing his own watery (and icy!) trail
  • Keri-anne Payne on how to train like an Olympian in 2021
  • History, nature writing and the Troubles
  • Sarah Thomas looks at the icy thrill of ice miles

Swim Wild and Free

Sign up to our newsletter and receive a free five-part series on the fundamentals of freestyle by Olympic silver medallist Keri-anne Payne.