susan's swimming journey
For more than 30 years, Susan fiercely avoided both swimming and open water - they remained her greatest fear after the drowning death of her family. But as part of her journey of self-healing, and to encourage others to confront and overcome their own fears, she accepted a challenge to swim the world’s largest open water event – the Lorne Pier to Pub.
It took Susan14 months to prepare both mentally and physically. She started in a 25-metre pool but suffered from severe anxiety and eventually sought the support of a professional open-water coach who specialises in various areas of swimming, including working with people who suffer from water phobia.
Peter Hendriks from SwimWell is the person Susan credits for supporting her through this process. Peter swam with Susan every morning at sunrise - even throughout winter - guiding her stroke-by-stroke.
Susan achieved her goal of swimming the 1.2km Lorne Pier to Pub on 7 January 2017, reaching the finish line in twenty minutes and 37 seconds (20:37), and raising funds for domestic violence in the process.
the rip swim
Six weeks after successfully competing in the Lorne Pier to Pub, Susan achieved another difficult challenge - swimming "The Rip," from Point Nepean to Point Lonsdale.
"The Rip" is a bold, iconic bucket-list swim across the entrance to Port Phillip Bay, the gateway to Melbourne. With tides that can run up to 15km/h, the 3.2km stretch of water has gained a reputation as one of the most unpredictable and treacherous waterways in the world!
With a team of chaperones, Susan completed the challenge in a little over one hour and twenty-six minutes (1:26:02). The moving tide increased their distance to 4.65km.
the english channel
After completing the Rip swim, Susan then set her sights on swimming the Everest of all swims - the English Channel - in a 4-person relay. She trained with her team in the bay at sunrise every morning for 18 months and also attended squad training sessions three times each week leading up to the challenge.
Susan and her team successfully swam the 34km (21mile) distance from England to France on 17 August 2018 in a little under eleven hours and fifty-eight minutes (11:57:48). With the current moving from side to side as the tide ebbs and flows, the distance was closer to 50km.
As fate would have it, Susan was fortunate to be the swimmer to reach landfall. In undertaking this challenge, Susan raised funds for "Make A Wish Foundation" to enable children suffering from serious illnesses to fulfill their own dreams.
the rottnest channel
Unable to turn down a challenge, Susan then committed to a solo crossing of the channel between Cottesloe Beach and Rottnest Island (Perth, Australia), a 19.7km swim that took place on 22 February 2020. It was a tough challenge, but Susan managed to complete the distance in just under ten hours (9:55), alongside her swimming buddy, Sue Jones.
Susan now has her sights on a solo crossing of the English Channel. When asked what motivates her to keep testing her boundaries, Susan says, "Stepping outside of my comfort zone has made me a happier and more resilient person. I'm now committed to helping others confront their own fears and achieve personal goals so they too may experience this incredible sense of freedom."