Courtesy of Pat Gallant Charette, Westbrook, Maine.

Channel swimmer Pat Gallant Charette started open water swimming at the age of 47. She talks about how she manages family, friends and finances as she travels around the world in search of swimming from one shore to the other.

I always placed family commitments first, work second, and swimming third. I am very fortunate to have very supportive family and friends. They encouraged me to reach for my dream of becoming a marathon swimmer.”

But as supportive as her family and friends are, it takes much effort, planning and sacrifice to find the time to train. “After being on my feet all day as a nurse, I wanted to go home and put feet up and relax. Instead, I went to the beach directly from work and swam for an hour of two. While swimming, I would jokingly tell myself, “Pat, your feet are up, now relax enjoy the swim.” And, I did.”

Without sponsorship like most marathon swimmers, she has to find a way to pay for these adventures. “I worked as a nurse until the age of 65 to pay for my marathon swims. In addition, I have a full-time commitment in helping to care for my three young grandchildren ages 8, 5, and 4. I schedule my swim training around their schedule.”

The veteran will attempt a solo crossing of the North Channel between Scotland and Northern Ireland in August where her out-of-pocket expenses are US$12,000. “I am paying for crew airfare, lodging, meals, and the usual pilot and association fees. I have no sponsorship for this adventure.”

Would she change anything?

No. After 18 years of being an open water swimmer, I have learned through the hardship of juggling family life, work, and swim training that it has made me mentally and physically stronger as a marathon swimmer.”

Copyright © 2016 by World Open Water Swimming Association