Sophie grew up in Hastings and was an active, fully able-bodied competitive swimmer for many years. As a teenager she was also a member of the Hastings
Voluntary Lifeguards and not only learned a lot but completed her National Pool Lifeguard Qualification and National Beach Lifeguard Qualification with the club. The lifeguard club introduced her to
open water swimming and in 2008 at the age of 16 she joined the club for a Cross Channel Relay swim. Sadly, for the first time in her life she suffered with sea sickness and continued to be sea sick
for more than 14 hours – the whole swim. Since then, she has wanted the chance to go back and try again, 15 years later she is finally getting her chance thanks to the lifeguard club, but this time
has more challenges for her than just sea sickness.
In 2011 Sophie was involved in a cycling accident, which resulted in a long diagnostic process before finally being diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain
Syndrome; one of the most painful conditions in the world in late 2012.
Suddenly finding herself struggling to walk and in constant pain was tough. She struggled with being constantly exhausted and to put the cherry on the
top; due to hypersensitivity she was unable to wear trousers or leave the house if it was windy because it was too painful for her.
She went from an open water swimmer and triathlete to wheelchair user in under a year and for the first time in her life, was unable to swim because it
was too painful.
It took several years of struggling with different medications, physiotherapy appointments, hospital stays, falling into a deep depression and a pain
management programme. It wasn’t an easy journey back into the water and it was about 6 months before she could even get in the local leisure centre pool and start swimming again but, as soon as she
did she knew it was where she was meant to be. She quickly discovered that she was no longer able to kick her legs so all her swimming was going to be using only her upper-body but it hasn’t stopped
Since then (2016) she has gone on to create and run one of the only support networks for open water swimmers with disabilities – ADOWS (Adaptive &
Disabled Open Water Swimmers). Sophie is now one of the main campaigners for more inclusive and accessible open water swimming and has worked with several organisations to help them improve the
accessibility at their events, she is also now a contributor for The Outdoor Swimmer Magazine. She is a long-distance swimmer and always wants to push her limits with bigger and better swims. Her
biggest swim to date being Lake Windermere Two Way (21 miles) which she completed in 2021 in a time of 16 hours and 41 minutes. Earlier this year took on the BLDSA Champion of Champions in Dover and
on 10th July she is going to be part of the first disabled duo to take on the unlimited swim event at The Outdoor Swim Festival in Henley.
Now hoping to swim the channel solo in the future she can’t wait to get out there and swim!
Please support Sophie and our club - thank you from the Channel Swim team