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The open water love affair that led to an epic streak and charitable swims

Kate Queally could have celebrated her 50th birthday with a big party or a few celebratory nights at the pub.

Instead, she set herself a unique challenge – to go open water swimming for 50 consecutive days.

With friends joining her on various legs of the tour, which took her right across the UK, it proved a life-changing celebration for Kate.

That sparked a passion for the open water and it’s something she hasn’t been able to shake off since.

She swam on day 51, and again on day 52.

Now, Kate has swum in open water for more than 750 consecutive days.

It’s proved rewarding, both mentally and physically, for Kate, who has twice been diagnosed with breast cancer

“I love the feeling of being under the water,” she said. “I never feel like I have cancer when I’m swimming.

“I sometimes have aches and pains, and they always go when I’m swimming. I feel like it’s really good for me. I love the social aspect and everything is always better after a swim.

“For four years, my scans have remained stable and that’s not what they were expecting. I’m convinced it’s the swimming.

“Positive thinking is good for you when you’ve got something like this and swimming is making me feel positive.”

Swimming for charity

Kate had already made a real impact on all who had joined her for an open water swim, but she sensed an opportunity to use her energy for even greater good.

She began fundraising for various causes at each of her organised swims, with generous locals and visitors raising hundreds of pounds each week.

After watching a documentary featuring the work of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), Kate selected Swim Safe as one of her charities of choice.

Swim Safe – created by Swim England and the RNLI – teaches thousands of children across the UK, aged 7-14, how to swim safely outdoors.

With many locations along the coast of Cornwall, it was a fitting cause and Kate helped to raise almost £450 for Swim Safe programmes around the country.

She said: “Everyone living by the sea is quite keen on getting people swimming safely and not telling children or adults that the sea is dangerous and you need to stay away from it, but that you need to respect it and you can use it safely and learn how to.”

Donations like Kate’s are helping to ensure Swim Safe sessions remain free in 2020 and beyond.

If you would like to make a donation, please visit the Swim England Charity page.