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Digital Subscriptions > Outdoor Swimmer > May 2017 > HOW TO… SWIM 24 MILES IN 24 HOURS


Suzy Hegg finds out what it takes to complete one of swimming’s most gruelling challenges

24 IN 24

On Wednesday 22 June 2016 at 6.43pm, Jackie Hall finished her final mile of 100 Percent Swimming’s 24 miles in 24 hours swim. She had swum a mile, on the hour, every hour, since 6pm the day before, in a lake. She was the final solo swimmer to complete the challenge. Exhausted but elated, she clambered up the jetty to rapturous applause. There wasn’t a dry eye around the lake.

A picture of pure grit and determination, Jackie had barely 15 minutes to rest, recover and eat (forget sleep) between each swim. For the final five of her miles she spent every minute she had out of the water being treated by therapists from the Sports Therapy Association while trying to drink and eat at the same time.

Jackie admits she’s not the most likely athlete: a grandmother, she lost five stone (30kg) in 2011 and had an operation to remove spare skin a year later. She then completed a half ironman in 2013. Knee problems saw her return to swimming last year.

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About Outdoor Swimmer

Welcome to our training special! Whether you have signed up for your first open water event or are planning an endurance challenge we have a plan for you – turn to page 44 for our one mile, 5k and 10k training schedules. We also have an intensive 10k DIY training camp for more advanced swimmers, as well as advice on how to successfully swim 24 miles in 24 hours and train for a swimrun event. Plus, our resident Olympian Cassie Patten answers your training queries and Total Immersion head coach Terry Laughlin trains your brain as well as your body. And if you haven’t yet signed up to an event to train for, check out our full listings starting on page 80. Outdoor swimming isn’t all about chasing that PB though. We hear from self-confessed dipper Joe Minihane about how wild swimming helped cure his anxiety and Ella Foote swims with Tessa Wardley, the author of a new book on mindfulness and swimming. And Jenny Landreth delves into the history books to explore the advice given to female swimmers in the 19th century. Enjoy the magazine and happy swimming.