Northumberland extreme swimmer joins exclusive club after 1km swim in freezing waters of Antarctica

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Extreme swimmer Jane Hardy has become the latest member of the exclusive Antarctica Club.

The Craster woman recently joined an intrepid team of marine conservationists from around the globe in the icy waters off Earth’s coldest continent.

They joined world-renowned extreme swimmer Ger Kennedy on an awareness-raising expedition to campaign for greater protection of its precious seas and marine species

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“Antarctica was amazing,” said Jane. “I felt like I was part of an Attenborough film.

Jane Hardy (white cap) takes the plunge.Jane Hardy (white cap) takes the plunge.
Jane Hardy (white cap) takes the plunge. | Other 3rd Party

“I’ve never experienced anything quite so breathtakingly beautiful in my whole life. There was so much wildlife and zero pollution. Spectacular is an understatement.”

She also swam 1km in Telephone Bay, Deception Island – with the air temperature at 1C and the water at just 1.6C – to gain a place in the Antarctica Club.

“I swam well & surprised myself,” she said. “I had a bit of hypothermia which is to be expected but I recovered quickly.”

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Jane is one of only 30 swimmers in the world to have swum 1km or more in Antarctica.

A delighted Jane Hardy after her 1km swim in the freezing waters of Antarctica.A delighted Jane Hardy after her 1km swim in the freezing waters of Antarctica.
A delighted Jane Hardy after her 1km swim in the freezing waters of Antarctica. | Other 3rd Party

Amazingly, she only learned to swim 12 years ago at the age of 41, when she started swimming lessons while her son was also learning.

She started training for this expedition, Antarctica 2020, in November.

Her regime consisted of cold water sea swim virtually every day, gradually building up distances and improving times while enduring water temperatures as low as 4C without a wet or drysuit.

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The conservationists aimed to create worldwide awareness of the incredibly special place the region is for marine habitats and wildlife, with the ultimate goal of creating two new internationally-recognised Marine Protected Areas in its inshore seas.

Jane Hardy with fellow extreme swimmers in Telephone Bay, Antarctica.Jane Hardy with fellow extreme swimmers in Telephone Bay, Antarctica.
Jane Hardy with fellow extreme swimmers in Telephone Bay, Antarctica. | Other 3rd Party

In the process, she raised over £1,000 for British Divers Marine Life Rescue, the charity for which she is a volunteer and assistant area coordinator.

On her return, Jane is still trying to raise as much as she can and has organised a party with singer Gary Brown at Longhoughton Community and Sports Centre on Saturday, March 21 from 7.30pm to 11pm.

Tickets are £15 and are available by calling 01825 765546 or visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Jane-Hardy12

To find out more visit www.antarctica2020swim.com