Children’s swimming coach Emily Morris has become the first British woman to swim New Zealand’s notorious Cook Strait – a shark-infested, jellyfish ridden stretch of water connecting the country’s North and South islands.
The 27 year old, who works as a swimming coach at the Hampton Pool, had to brave shoals of jellyfish as she swam in the icy water, making the 16 mile crossing in just under 10 hours.
“I was very apprehensive and had lots of dreams about great white sharks for a whole year before,” she told London’s Evening Standard.
“The first hour was really nice with quiet calm weather. Then the sea just soared up and the wind reached 17 knots and it remained like that until the last hour of my swim.”
“For one hour I did not move anywhere and they were thinking of pulling me out..but suddenly I got caught on a tide and it was just go, go, go.”
Emily got the bug for outdoor swimming five years ago when she went on a Swim Trek holiday. She swam the channel in 2006 and trained in Dover Harbour before going to New Zealand seven weeks ago to swim in rough seas off the coast of Wellington.
“When I reached the end it was an amazing feeling of exhilharation,” she told The Standard. “It still hasn’t sunk in.”