Jane Leitch, open water swimmer.

Jane Leitch, open water swimmer.

23-07-2021Jane Leitch

Jane Leitch has not only been coming to Mallorca since she was a baby, she has also been an open water swimmer for most of her life, however, since she moved permanently to Majorca, she has been able to make the most of swimming all year round in the Mediterranean as opposed to the freezing lochs and lakes of Scotland.

Born in Glasgow, Jane studied product design engineering at university where one of her projects involved swimming and along with a colleague following a similar route through university, she seriously got into open water swimming and on July 31. She and eight other swimmers will be swimming the 22 kilometres around Cabrera to raise funds for the Save The Med charity and awareness about how the Mediterranean needs to be protected.

“It’s going to be a very special event. To start with, no one has officially swum around
Cabrera and we had to get special permission because it is a natural marine reserve.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the marine reserve declaration so it is very fitting that we are swimming around the island for this excellent charity and we have chosen Save The Med’s ‘Marine Protected Areas’ project to raise funds for. Each of us has a crowd funding site and our target is to raise 2,000 euros and the sites will remain open for a few days after the swim for anyone wishing to still donate,” Jane told the Bulletin this week.

“The swim has been organised by ‘Mallorca Open Swim Boris’, who is from Costs Rica and was the first person to swim from Minorca to Majorca and the rest of the team are Mallorcan and Spanish, apart from me.”

“We are all open water swimmers, some more experienced and professional than I am, having competed in numerous races and competitions, but the Cabrera swim is not a competitive one, it’s all about saving the Med., raising funds and awareness.
“I would not say that I have been doing any extra training, I am always swimming as much as I can all year round.”

“But, we have all been doing extra work in the gym, not only to boost our strength but also to build up areas where injuries are most common. Swimming involves very repetitive movements and that is where injuries can be picked up - shoulders for example. Right now, as we enter into the final week before the swim, we’ve eased off swimming and are concentrating on our diet. It’s not something I usually worry about because of my healthy lifestyle swimming at least 20 kilometres a week in the sea, but this week is going to be about getting the carbohydrates and proteins down.”

“Obviously, we are going to have support vessels and kayaks carrying food for us such as energy bars and protein drinks. The plan is for us all to set off from Colonia Sant Jordi at 6am and we aim to be in the water at 8am. The swim will take around eight hours and we will have a break every 45 to 50 minutes to take on board liquids and food.”

“I know it may sound strange but despite being in the water, keeping well hydrated is going to be one of the main concerns because it is going to be hot and the sea is very clear at this time of year so we are going to feel the heat and the glare of the sun, so plenty of sun cream as well. Other issues are going to strong currents and of course, jellyfish. We all expect to emerge from the water with a few stings but unless there are any large blooms, we don’t see any reason why we should not be able to complete the swim,” she said.

Even during the pandemic, Jane managed to maintain her swimming regime.

“I am extremely lucky. In the apartment block in where I live we have a small pool, so despite the cold, I would slip into my wet suit and swim every day restrictions permitting. It was really cold at times, nothing like the lochs back in Scotland though, but apart from being able to keep swimming, it was an excellent distraction from the pandemic.”

“Being under the water and just hearing the bubbles was so therapeutic and worked wonders for me, both physically and mentally. All that peace and quiet in the water was wonderful,” she added.

“But all the concentration is now on the big charity swim, we are looking forward to it and hope we can raise as much money and awareness as possible.”

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