Toowoomba swimmer's bid to backstroke English Channel

KELLY Lowndes is on a mission to backstroke her way into the English Channel record books as the first Australian to conquer the 21-mile swim in that style.

With training down to a daily routine with coach Karren Geraghty of Endless Limits and husband Mark Lowndes, Mrs Lowndes, 37, is confident she can cross the infamous channel dubbed the Mt Everest of swimming.

Feeling more at home completing a 12-hour swim marathon than talking up her own accomplishments, the dedicated Mrs Lowndes nevertheless told The Chronicle she was inspired to take on the challenge after a suggestion from her husband, and reaching the peak of competitive swimming.

SUPER SWIM:  ( From left ) Mark Lowndes, Karren Geraghty ( Endless Limits ) and Kelly Lowndes. Kelly Lowndes will attempt the English Channel crossing by swimming backstroke.  Friday Mar 03, 2017.
SUPER SWIM: ( From left ) Mark Lowndes, Karren Geraghty ( Endless Limits ) and Kelly Lowndes. Kelly Lowndes will attempt the English Channel crossing by swimming backstroke. Friday Mar 03, 2017. Nev Madsen

"It wasn't until my husband said, 'oh Kel, you've always gone backstroke but never over 150m so why don't you try 400m and 800m and 1500m'," she said.

"I thought, 'are you kidding me? I'm a sprint swimmer!'"

But after wins in longer distances, endurance swims were the next logical step when she completed the 12-hour MS marathon.

"She is one million per cent committed to this," coach Ms Geraghty said.

"She's a little machine."

Mr Lowndes said he supported his wife's channel bid entirely and would be alongside her in a pilot boat ensuring strict rules and regulations were followed.

SUPER SWIM:  Kelly Lowndes will attempt the English Channel crossing by swimming backstroke.  Friday Mar 03, 2017.
SUPER SWIM: Kelly Lowndes will attempt the English Channel crossing by swimming backstroke. Friday Mar 03, 2017. Nev Madsen

"My main role will be to feed her like a seal at Sea World," he laughed.

"Basically you pop a stick out with some food on it because you're not allowed to touch the swimmer.

"A big part of that is that we manage that part of the swim - keeping her fed, keeping her hydrated.

"But she won't leave me in charge of wardrobe."

Follow and support Kel's journey on Facebook or donate to the cause here.


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