Talking open water swimming and what #cando means with Kate de le Rue
Kate de la Rue, Business Improvement Manager from our Guernsey office, shares how the challenges of open water swimming have been more life-enhancing that she could ever have imagined.
How did you get into open water swimming?
I swam as a child until the age of 12, competing for the island in pool swim meets, but gave it up when approaching my teenage years. I hadn’t done much more than that until 2014 when, looking for a form of exercise, I got back into a swimming pool to train for the first time in 20 years. It soon became a pleasure, rather than a chore.
I could never have imagined then what a fabulous idea this would turn out to be, the people I’d meet and the places I’d go.
What do you enjoy about it?
For me open water swimming is about the personal challenge, both mental and physical, rather than the competition. I also just love being in the water and exploring the beautiful Guernsey coastline; no two swims are the same.
On top of that, I’m lucky to have met a fantastic group of friends through swimming.
What have been some of your greatest achievements?
My initial goal was to swim from Guernsey to Herm –5km crossing strong tidal currents. I completed that goal in August 2015 and haven’t looked back. After many swims around sections of the Guernsey coastline, I’ve been challenging myself with greater distances in 2021.
In August I swam 8.5km around Herm and Jethou in just under two and a half hours – Travel Trident (a ferry that runs between Guernsey and Herm) even gave me right of way as I swam across the Percee Passage, ensuring I wasn’t hit by their wake. It was a beautiful swim in flat calm waters!
I followed this in September with a swim of 10.5km around the south coast of Guernsey in just under three hours. This was more challenging as we encountered some huge swell coming around Pleinmont, Guernsey’s very exposed south west corner. Afterwards I felt hugely grateful, proud - and shattered!
And then in October I got to complete the goal I set myself of swimming the full 360 degrees around Guernsey, I swam across the harbour mouth with 50 others to raise money for the RNLI.
What advice would you give to anyone else considering getting into open water swimming?
If you want to swim distances in the open water, get yourself signed up for some coached pool training, as technique can be key to endurance in the water.
But I’d recommend the benefits of swimming to anyone. Just get in the water – give it a go. It’s great for mental as well as physical health.
I’m toying with the idea of swimming from Guernsey to Sark (10km). It would be my biggest challenge yet, and a huge commitment to training for it. Watch this space.
What does can-do mean to you?
To me can-do means challenging yourself to succeed, including stepping outside your comfort zone and giving something a go. You may not always be successful, but to grow you have to take that risk and push yourself.
How does your open water swimming complement your work at Canaccord?
Other than sometimes giving me the headspace to mull a work problem over while swimming around a headland, I always feel revitalised after having been in the open water. This no doubt gives more energy for the other important aspects of life, including work.
Do you have a can-do story to share? Contact Paula McBride
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Investment involves risk and is not suitable for everyone.