Pupil swims 8 miles

2014-02-11 00:00

EVERY time the start gun went off at last weekend’s Midmar Mile, 16-year-old Epworth pupil Frances Earle was one of the swimmers who set off to swim across the dam.

The teenager was part of the 8-mile club, swimming all the races to raise money for charity, in this case the Red Cap Foundation.

Having pledged to raise R10 000 for the foundation, Frances ended up with a total of R12 000, but contributed some of it to a friend who had struggled to meet her pledged amount.

“It’s something that I’ve been wanting to do for a while. I suggested it to my friend Melissa Duthie last year and she said she had had the same idea.

“In previous years, they only used to allow 50 swimmers into the 8-mile club, but this year they allowed 120,” she said, adding that due to entries staying open a bit longer, Melissa and her friend were allowed to enter the race late.

A highlight for Frances during the two days of swimming was being in the water at the same time as reigning five-time men’s champion Chad Ho pipped two-time winner Troyden Prinsloo at the finish.

“We missed the finish because we were also in the water, but that was definitely a highlight,” the Grade 11 pupil told The Witness yesterday.

Frances admitted that although she loved swimming, she was not a fast swimmer, and did it to keep fit and active.

Other sports she played were hockey, for which she is a member of the school’s first team, cross-country, and tennis.

Although it was her maiden 8-mile swim, it was not the first time she had taken part in the Midmar Mile.

“It was my sixth year doing the Midmar. My first one was when I was 10 years old in Grade 5. I’ve swum it ever year since then, and this year was the first time we did the eight miles,” she said. “Because my friend Melissa and I are a similar speed, we finished all of our races together. It was nice to do it with a friend.”

Her younger brother and sister, Tom (13) and Tory (11), also swam during the weekend along with mom Wendy. But, unlike Frances, they only did a race each.

“They were allowed into the 8-mile tent with us after. It was nice to see them, and they took full advantage of the food and massages,” Frances said.

Her mom Wendy has also taken part in the Comrades Marathon three times, and Frances said that was an event she would love to tackle in the future.

Name: Frances Earle

School: Epworth

Age: 16

Grade: 11

Sport: Open water swimming.

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