July 6, 2016
11:59 am

O2H 50 Mile Thames Swim

by Katia Vastiau, O2H openwater swimmer

On 14th of July, myself and four other swimmers from openwaterclubs.org.uk Oxford and Henley (Jeremy Laming, Malcolm Burfitt, Mark Plested and Phillip Cater) will be donning our wetsuits to set out on an epic 50 mile (80km) swim as a pod, from Oxford to Henley.
The challenge is all being done in aid of local charity the Chiltern Centre for Disabled Children who aim to give disabled children and young people the opportunity to live life to the full whilst providing their families with a valuable break and the support they need in their vital role as carers. Although the charity is local, there is no post code restriction on who can benefit from help from the centre. The only limitation to help more children and families is budget, to cover the cost of more staff.
Our intention is to swim the distance over two and a half days starting on the 14th July at Osney Lock in Oxford and finishing at the Angel on the Bridge in Henley on Saturday 16th, in the afternoon.
We are all experienced open water swimmers and used to swimming in lakes and the Thames. Nevertheless, this is by far the biggest challenge any of us has ever taken on. It might be a quick drive from Oxford to Henley, but the Thames takes a long undulating stroll through the beautiful countryside to get there. 50 miles is a long way!

Although the swim takes place in summer, spending ten hours a day in sub 18C water (the weather hasn’t really been playing ball this year!) is still a big expense of energy in itself and will add to the challenge. But we are all very excited about the whole adventure and the support we are getting, and have been training hard, finding time for long swims, usually really early in the morning and bonding as a team too!
We have set our goal high: £15,000. This will enable the Chiltern Centre to fund one of the on-site nurses for nine months. We have raised £4,000 so far which will already fund twelve overnight stays at the centre. So when things get tough on our swim (and they will!), this is what will definitely keep us going!
We will have a tracker with us on the swim so you can follow our journey online – all the details will be posted on our Facebook page before we start. Please “like” our page or follow us on Twitter, to get the updates. Feel free to leave us messages during the swim as our support team will be able to pass them on! Those REALLY do help!

If we are passing near you, feel free to come and meet us at the locks or cheer along the way! We’ve already been promised some hot drinks at Radley’s boathouse, and by the lovely people at the Waterfront Café in Benson. The Swan at Streatley is putting us up and feeding us in the evenings, so we can have a good night’s sleep. Perhaps join us for a beer at The Angel on the Bridge on Saturday afternoon…hopefully not too late.
Thank you to Thames Baths for taking an interest in our challenge and thank you all for reading and following! It’s getting very close now and we’re all itching to go!
And last, but not least, this is the link to our fundraising page!


Every little helps! If you’re able to spare a few quid, we would be most grateful! Feel free to share widely too.
We have a couple of corporate sponsors too, and their logo will appear on our t-shirts and social media. There is still time to add yours (until 8 July – £200 for the logo).
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/O2H50Miles
Twitter : @O2H50Miles