'I swim for them' Swimathon challenge in memory of cancer victims
PUBLISHED: 06:00 13 February 2020
© 2013 Mark Hewlett
An endurance swimmer who repeats the name of her friends who died from breast cancer to get her through tough races is taking to the water once again for charity.
Tracy Clark, from Norwich, has signed up for this year's Swimathon, in memory of her dad and two best friends, Shelley and Cathy.
The 50-year-old, who is originally from New Zealand, is encouraging others to get involved in the event which runs between March 20 and April 5 for Cancer Research UK and Marie Curie.
Mrs Clark said: "Whenever I have a tough swim and I start to tire and need motivation I keep repeating my friends' names Shelly, Cathy, Cathy, Shelly over and over in rhythm with every stroke to keep me going, I swim for them and it gets me through.
"I know just how devastating cancer can be. It's a terrible disease that just doesn't affect those diagnosed but also family and friends."
The swimathon challenge is open to individuals or teams to take on a distance of their choice ranging from 400m to the triple 5k.
The mother-of-two said: "The swimathon is not about achieving long distances or arduous swims it's also not about elite Olympic swimmers, it's about taking part and making a difference, whatever your age or capability.
"My belief is to dream big, never give up, and you're never too old to achieve your dreams - so get involved and lets raise some money for a worthy cause."
She was 28 when her father died, unable to see her swim the English Channel - a dream she had been pursuing since the age of 13
She completed the challenge in 2013 in a time of 12 hours and 46 minutes - battling through near gale force winds and six foot waves.
The endurance swimmer also completed an Ice Mile in 3.6 degrees water, circumnavigated Manhattan Island and became the first New Zealander to achieve the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming.
She is also half-way through achieving Oceans seven challenge.
Patrick Keely, Cancer Research UK's spokesman for Norfolk, said; "Whether you're a champion swimmer like Tracy or prefer to stick to the shallow end, there's a Swimathon challenge for all of us. It's about taking part and raising awareness and funds for vital research and support."
To sign up to Swimathon 2020, visit swimathon.org.