Poor vision will not get in the way of a Warwick mum’s ambition to take part in an open swim for charity that has not been done for more than 80 years.
Heather Clatworthy will next month attempt to swim 13 miles from Moville in Donegal, Ireland, to Portstewart in Northern Ireland, across the mouth of the Foyle and Bann Rivers, to raise funds for the Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI) in Portrush and the Portstewart Outdoor Recreation Fund.
The swim hasn’t been officially completed since 1929 and Heather, who grew up in Portstewart, cannot wait to give it her best shot.
Having worn glasses since she was ten and contact lenses since she was 15, the 33-year-old has thus far been worried about swimming in the open water in case a wave might knock her goggles off and cause her to lose a much-needed lens. So she decided to undergo laser eye surgery this year to enable her to finally attempt the challenge.
Heather said: “Swimming in open water allows you one second to take a snapshot of where you are going. If you don’t get a good look, you go off in the wrong direction very easily. Six weeks after surgery, I swam in the moonlight on a 12-hour overnight swim. The sky was magical to see from the water - I haven’t been able to see that before.
“Taking the step to laser my eyes wasn’t a quick one, but I wanted to see my children grow up and enjoy the benefits of seeing with my own eyes! When I’m training, every now and then I stop and take my goggles off to take in the beautiful coastline and horizon.”
Heather was inspired to take on the challege by Brighton woman Merecedz Gleitze, who completed the swim in 1929 after being commissioned by the town clerk of Portstewart Urban Council to boost tourism. Heather is now in touch with Merecedz’ daughter and is planning to meet her.
Sponsor Heather at www.swimforportstewart.com