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Georgia conquers the Channel in under 12 hours

Maida Vale woman set to claim women’s record for her swim

18 October, 2019 — By Samantha Booth

Georgia Hall ‘breaking the record’

A MAIDA Vale woman is believed to have become the fastest British woman this year to swim the English Channel.

Georgia Hall, 31, only started swimming regularly three-and-a-half years ago because of back problems but this month completed the 21 miles in 11 hours and 49 minutes in between forecasts of stormy weather.

Her time is yet to be officially ratified but she is thought to have surpassed former records.

“A lot of people can’t believe I only started swimming a few years ago,” she said.

“You have to respect the channel – you’ve got to accept what it gives you. I think in training you have to surround yourself with like-minded people who will support you – you don’t swim the channel by yourself, it takes a village to get there. I feel so humbled by the whole experience.”

Georgia celebrating her feat

Georgia, the daughter of Conservative Abbey Road councillor Lindsey Hall, found her love of swimming when she moved to Australia. Her training involved daily swims and a six-to-eight hour swim in the sea on a Saturday.

Georgia, who works in environmental and social governance, suffered with eating disorders in her teenage years and was hospitalised at times.

She has been in recovery for the past eight years and said the training for the channel swim was a “really different mindset”.

“Training for these long distances meant I really had to focus on my nutrition so my body was getting what it needed to sustain a huge amount of exertion,” she said.

She has raised more than £7,000 for children’s mental health charity, and one of the causes selected by Cllr Hall when she was Westminster Lord Mayor – Place2Be.

“The mental health benefits that come through with swimming – it’s really helped me in various ways,” said Georgia.

Georgia in preparation

“While I’m in recovery now, I realised it was an incredibly important part of my journey. Raising money for a Place2Be is one of the things I feel so passionately about – I feel children have a right to a safe place to talk.”

She said one of the “depressing” reflections she has on the swim between Dover and the French coast is the amount of plastic that has collected in the Channel, including bags and bottles.

And during her two years of training, she said she had been treated differently from men who were attempting the same feat.

She said: “People called me crazy or mad for wanting to do it, why would you put your body through that?

“But all of my male friends who I had been training with, when they mentioned it to people they were referred to as legends.

“I think it’s the uncomfortable part of, as a society, there’s an obsession with women’s bodies, and wanting to control them and the idea that a woman would want to do that, to deliberately gain weight is crazy.”

Cllr Hall said: “There aren’t enough words to describe how in awe I am of her.”

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