Part 1 - BEFORE

Fay Edgar
Open water swimmer and coach

Fay is one of the Selkie Charity Challenger, raising money for her local Surf and Lifesaving Club in Weymouth :

I decided to do a 12 hour sea swim to raise money for my local Surf Lifesaving club, where I volunteer as a coach teaching children and young adults to stay safe in the sea. I planned my training over a year and then Covid-19 happened and all bets were off. 

How on earth was I going to get my cold water fix during lockdown, let alone stay fit? What should I do? Should I postpone the swim to give me more time? I was so far behind with training as prior to lockdown I was only doing 2k swims waiting for the sea to warm up.

A variety of ideas came to me, including doing a 12 hour swim-run instead so my shoulders would at least get a break, however this wasn’t the challenge I wanted to do. 

I wanted to swim, I love swimming. 

Then it came to me. When else was I going to have this perfect opportunity to test myself? When else would I not be working, not doing the school run, not being a taxi service, not volunteering every Saturday, not waking up to an alarm clock 6 days a week? 

I was going to take the pressure off and just swim for as long as I could and get as close to 12 hours as was possible. And then I started training.

I think I always knew I would attempt the 12 hrs; I am stubborn and when I decide to do something, I usually do it! I’ve never thought of myself as a competitive person, but I am, with myself. 

This was a whole different kettle of fish though. Time was not on my side: I had to build up slowly enough for my body to cope but I also had to increase the time and distance in the water very fast.

I mostly swam twice a week with the odd week squeezing 3 swims in. The weather wasn’t always kind with winds making the swims tough on some days and impossible on others. I had wetsuit issues where my suit had got too big, so cold water was washing through and I was getting so cold I was shivering while swimming (not recommended!) and my hands were so numb my fingers wouldn’t stay together. I had to buy a new suit, which I could barely afford and when it did arrive it felt too tight on my shoulders, restricting movement. 

Team Selkie came to my aid and talked me through how to put it on properly, basic stuff that I knew, but was getting myself in such a panicked state with the deadline looming. Motivation hit an all-time low: how on earth was I going to do this? Who was I to think I could cram a years’ worth of training into 6 weeks? I must be nuts. 

Then I had the swim of my life!

 I needed to do a dawn swim, so I was up at 3am and in the water at 4.45am. It was a really tough, cold, demoralising swim and then I felt something brush against my leg….more bleedin seaweed I thought. Then this face popped up in front of me. The local seal had decided to join me. Not only did he swim with me, but he decided that I looked like a comfy place to rest! He was so funny and playful, it was the most amazing, magical experience.

The day after, I completed a 6 hour swim! 

I was exhausted but exhilarated by the end. 

 I can do this. I can push through the pain and the tiredness. 

The support I have received from people has been fantastic. When you set yourself a solo challenge, it can be a lonely experience. I have found great support in Team Selkie, fellow challengers spurring me on, friends and family and my eldest daughter who is my rock, “You’ve got this Mum, you are a machine!” 

This is a challenging times for everyone, Covid-19 has rocked the world. 

I have struggled along with everyone else financially, emotionally and physically. However it has given me something so positive, time out. 

I have been able to get off the roundabout and focus on something that is really important to me. 

Be inspired, be bold, have courage, have faith in yourself and others around you to support you. 

Have a dream and make it happen. If you don’t push your limits you will never know how much you can achieve. 

Will I be able to swim for 12 hours in 2 days time after 6 weeks training? I honestly don’t know, but I’m going to try.

Fay will be starting her swim from Bowleaze Coveway, Weymouth, on Saturday 11 July at 5.30 am.

You can follow her on social media

Facebook : Fay Edgar

Instagram : @seafae7

Like all #SelkieCharityChallenge Athletes, Fay shares a discount code : CCFE20 ,to use at checkout on .  And everytime her code is used, 10% of the sale goes to her charity : Weymouth Surfing and Life Saving Club.