Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Isle of Wight all-female relay swim record attempt

Image caption The circular route will take the swimmers through The Needles and round St Catherine's Point

Six women will attempt to set a record for the first all-female team to swim round the Isle of Wight.

The women from Kent, West Yorkshire and Cumbria will relay swim the circular route, which starts and ends at Ryde.

Known as The Lovelies they will take it in turns to swim for one hour, until the 56-mile (90km) course is complete. They hope this will take 15 hours.

A mixed team of four men and two women successfully completed the swim in 2000 in 16 hours.

The team members are Becky Hedges, 35 and Paula Foreman, 43, both from West Malling, Kent; Rachael Cretten, 37, from Greenhithe, Kent; Kathy Batts, 51, from Strood, Kent; Liane Llewelyn, 30, from Bradford, West Yorkshire; and Lucy Donnelly, 37, from Appleby-on-Westmorland, Cumbria.

'Treacherous waters'

The route will take the swimmers in an anti-clockwise direction round the island, through The Needles and round St Catherine's Point.

Ms Hedges said: "The treacherous waters round the Isle of Wight present a major challenge - there are so many unknowns.

"My emotions are very up and down at the moment, going from being really excited to really scared."

The majority of the swim will take place through the night.

The Hampshire-based charter boat Dark Angel, skippered by Henry Hillier, will escort The Lovelies on their challenge.

Ms Hedges said: "We've been training three times a week in Holborough Lake in Kent, and in Dover Harbour."

The women completed an English Channel relay swim together last year.

Ms Llewelyn and Ms Foreman have also completed the English Channel non-stop solo swim, and Ms Llewelyn was a recent member of the Irish Channel swim.

The start time for the swim is 21:20 BST on Wednesday from Ryde Pier.

The record attempt will be adjudicated by an observer on behalf of Guinness World Records.

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