Entries are now open for this year’s Solent Swim, which is being held on July 4.
The swim, in its 11th year, is organized by the West Wight Sports and Community Centre and involves crossing the 1.3 miles from Hurst Castle, near Lymington, to Colwell Bay. Anyone over 18 can take part, as long as they complete a timed swim beforehand.
Each person must raise at least £250 for the Centre. The event has raised a total of more than £250,000 over the years, thanks to 544 swimmers. Proceeds over £250 can be split 50-50 with another charity of the swimmer’s choice. More than 30 charities have benefitted in this way.
The Solent Swim has become a popular fixture in the West Wight, attracting hundreds of supporters who gather on the sea wall at Colwell, to welcome the swimmers.
It is a huge community effort, involving Freshwater Independent Lifeboat, the IW Canoe Club, Yarmouth Harbour, Needles Pleasure Cruises, Captain’s Cabin, Colwell, and many kayakers and boat skippers who provide safety cover.
The swimmers are taken by boat from Yarmouth Harbour to Hurst Castle, where they meet the fleet of kayakers, before setting off when the tide is right.
Last summer, the Solent Swim 2020 was one of few sports events which could go ahead on the Island, under Covid-safe conditions. On average, each swimmer raised £654, the highest average ever.
The oldest participant, Megan Eggeling, 78, said afterwards: “I believe age is just a number. This was my second Solent Swim and it was most enjoyable. There was a wonderful welcome when we made it to the other side.”
To find out more and to sign up, visit westwight.org.uk/events/solent-swim/.