Daring Buxton teenager prepares for epic swim across the English Channel

A courageous Buxton teen is preparing to take on the ultimate challenge – a relay swim of the English Channel.

Wednesday, 3rd March 2021, 3:53 pm
Updated Wednesday, 3rd March 2021, 3:53 pm
Buxton schoolgirl Katie Ann Smith is interviewed ahead of her relay swim of the English Channel.

Katie Ann Smith, member of the Beech Hall School English Channel Swim Relay Squad, has also helped to produce a professional video documentary showcasing her journey towards the almighty feat.

The 15-year-old filmed an interview, sharing insight into her intense training regime and preparation for the challenge in September this year.

In readiness to accomplish the extraordinary goal, Katie Ann is working closely with a team of specialists and coaches, alongside her headmaster and experienced swimmer, James Allen.

Recognising that the challenge is both physically and mentally testing, Katie Ann and her team mates are engaging with a personal trainer, a hypnotherapist and swimming coach and cross channel swimmer Nikki Pope, who also features in the film.

On the approach to the definitive test, the team members have been taking part in a series of training sessions and ice swims in the school’s outdoor pool.

Katie Ann said about the ice swimming: “You look back and think that if you can do that, you can do anything, because it’s quite hard.”

The teenager will soon be put through her paces in a number of other intense tasks, including participating in a night swim to prepare for the difficult conditions of swimming in darkness and enduring a four-day training camp in Dover.

Beech Hall School headmaster James Allen said: “When you are part of an education at our school, it is much more than what happens between 8:30am and 4pm.

"This is about so much more than swimming. This is about building levels of resilience.

"We want the pupils to understand that whether it’s a swimming challenge, the pandemic, or any challenge they are going to encounter in their lives, we want them to have the mental toughness to overcome it.”

Swim coach Nikki Pope added: “More people have climbed Mount Everest than have swam across the English Channel. I had no idea that an ordinary bunch of kids could become an exceptional bunch of kids by embracing challenge, and it’s just been the most exciting thing to be a part of.”