8 o'clock Saturday morning would have seen the second fixture in the series for the Emmi Hunte cup, with prizes by Anna, Sam, Max and Theo Baker. Gentle pool swimmer Anna optimistically joined us in 2004 to train for a Channel relay. Anna was so overwhelmed with the experience that she went on to complete a solo crossing the following year.
Channel solo, 13 July 2005 (elegantly colour coordinated to the very finish)
The Serpentine being unavailable, Anna and Sam have recently been taking a dip in the River Wey
Anna was asked why she was daft enough to join the Serpentine Swimming Club -
"I joined in January 2004 to prepare for the WaterBabes Channel relay, alongside Janie Saunders and Jessica Avery. Before signing up for the Channel we had been leisurely breast stroking and chatting in an indoor pool and signed up without really realising what we were getting into. We had some swimming lessons, as Jess and Janie weren't really front crawlers. Our teacher was more keen on teaching us to skull on our backs in case we got tired I seem to remember. We visited the (Hampstead) Ladies' Pond for a January dip and they recommended the Serps. Everything improved from that moment. It really was life-changing.
"Janie lives in north London and Jess is in Worcestershire. We reunited for the Zurich relay and went out with a large contingency from the Serps in 2008 I think.
"I met Sam at Oxford in September 2005, shortly after my July solo. He quickly learnt to join in with the swimming. I remember he walked from his parents' home in Golders Green on Christmas day 2005 to watch me in the Peter Pan race. He also did the Zurich relay with Mark and Teresa (Faure-Walker).
"We have two boys, Max and Theo, now 10 and 8. We all swim regularly (as much as we can in the circumstances), and Max in particular loves his open water swimming. A few years ago we all took part in a charity swim in our local lido in Shere to help keep it open. The plan was to swim the distance of the channel in the lido and Max did 2km."
New member Anna was quick off the mark in gaining silverware and prizes
Also a party animal - the 2004 Serpentine Christmas bash
Anna and Sam have presented the prizes for the second race of the series since 2013
2013 race, Anna inspecting the handicap start list with Alan Nash
Giant cookie prizes in 2013
2016 race start on a cold and grey March morning
Four legged spectators
2016, Robin's speech and a table full of goodies
Jan Farmer in the prizes
Also Kevin Blick and "family"
Gordon and Norman watch on
WaterBabes English Channel relay team in aid of Great Ormond Street Hospital, 2004
The 2004 WaterBabes Channel relay team comprised Anna Hillyer, Jessica Avery and Janie Saunders, raising money for Great Ormond Street Hospital. They completed the crossing in 17 hours and 12 minutes.
Dover, nearly ready for the off
Bubbly back on the boat with "coach"
More bubbly at the Serpentine the following Saturday
Channel Solo, 13 July 2005
Arrived, after 17 hours and 32 minutes in 16c water
Ardent supporters - Nick, Cliff Golding and Janie. I.E. some of the crew
Anna also completed some other swims overseas with the Serpentine Swimming Club, including winter visits to Russia in 2004, Finland 2005 and a summer relay of Lake Zurich in 2008.