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24th May 2024
Clare McCarthy at The Reef in Sheringham sm

A vision impaired Cromer woman is preparing to swim the entire length of the 5.25 mile Coniston Water in the Lake District to raise money for two sight loss charities.

Clare McCarthy, 57, who was born with albinism and is severely sight-impaired, is taking part in the Coniston Chill Swim next month, to fundraise for Vision Norfolk and The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association.

To add to the challenges of the cold water and the sheer distance, she will be swimming alongside a sighted guide to ensure she stays on track to complete the extreme wild swimming feat.

Despite having always enjoyed swimming, Clare is new to wild swimming, and has done most of her training at Sheringham’s Reef Leisure Centre.

“I have always liked swimming, and being in a pool I am guided by the markings in the pool and the fact that after 25 metres you get to the end,” she said.

“I have tried out wild swimming at Ebridge a couple of times, and I have now worked out how my guide can help me stay on track and keep me out of the reeds and other obstructions.

“Swimming that kind of distance, especially in wild water, is akin to running a marathon, and it is a big challenge – but I am determined to do it.”

Clare estimates that the 5.25 Coniston swim will take her around four hours.  With cold water temperatures even in the summer, she will be tackling the challenge in a wetsuit.

Vision Norfolk chief executive Andrew Morter commented, “I never fail to be amazed at what people living with sight loss can achieve, and Clare’s determination and commitment is a really good example of this.

“This is a really big challenge, and we are especially grateful that she has chosen Vision Norfolk as one of the two charities she will be supporting with her efforts.”

The Coniston Chill Swim, which takes place in June, first took place in 2013, and has become a major annual event.  Just over 1,200 people took part in the event last year.

Anyone wishing to sponsor Clare in her Coniston Chill Swim Challenge can do so at www.justgiving.com/page/clare-mccarthy-1713119258297.