Sara did not swim competitively until she was in her 40s. For many years she had been swimming a couple of km at a public swim session, and had even entered the Swimathon (5k) a couple of times, but she liked swimming only in warm pools. This changed in 2009 when some friends suggested a sponsored swim to the Isle of Wight – Sara (the only one not in a wetsuit) caught the open water swimming bug and she went on to swim the Hellespont (Europe to Asia), the length of the three longest lakes in the Lake District and the Gibraltar Straits (Europe to Africa). She is proudest of her Lake Zurich swim (26.5k) in 2013, although does not know whether she ever wants to swim that far again!
Sara joined Spencer in 2011, because she was advised that joining a masters club would improve her swim speed – she is more of a tortoise than a hare. All the coaches know that Sara enjoys long freestyle sets, and that the prospect of a breaststroke technique session makes her want to cry, but she enjoys the variety of the sessions and thinks that all those IM sets must be doing her some good. She trains twice a week with Spencer and probably manages another 2 or 3 swims a week – more in the summer, once Brockwell lido has warmed up a bit.
Having learned how to dive and turn, Sara now competes in the pool occasionally, preferring the longer freestyle events, although she entered her first 50m fly this year. She swam at the 2016 Europeans in London and the 2017 Worlds in Budapest, and intends to swim in the open water at the Europeans in Slovenia in September.
Sara enjoys combining open water swimming with travelling, and has swum in the US (around Key West and across Chesapeake Bay), Italy (Messina Strait, Coppa Byron and Lake Orta) and Lake Annecy in France, as well as most of the well-known UK swim events and an English Channel relay. Sara and her family are currently building a house on the Dorset coast where she intends to become an all seasons dipper in the sea!