Serena Wells' 2018 English Channel Swim

Fundraiser Serena Wells
Funds go to My Cause Gift Fund for Centre for Asylum Seekers, Refugees and Detainees (CARAD), Lifeline WA and Kanyana Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre
$32,470 raised
GOAL $30,000
208 donations
since Oct 2017

Hello and thank you for visiting my fundraising page.

Sometime between 16 and 23 September 2018, I will attempt to swim solo across the English Channel. In doing so, I’m aiming to achieve two things.

As with many formidable challenges people undertake throughout life, it is a testing of oneself and the exhilaration and sense of accomplishment when/if attained.

But in this case, it is rather more. I dearly hope to raise funds for my three chosen charities all of which I feel are deserving of whatever assistance they can get. I have chosen these not only because they are causes close to my heart, but because I feel that every dollar raised will directly benefit those I seek to help.

They are all based in my home city of Perth, Western Australia and I hope that one, if not all, will stir a similar altruistic spirit that they have with me.

1. Lifeline (WA). Lifeline’s tagline is ‘saving lives, crisis support and suicide prevention’. Lifeline WA provides all Western Australians experiencing a personal crisis or thinking about suicide with access to 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention services.

Their services are available to everyone, every day of the year. Last year, more than 55,000 Western Australians contacted them for support via their telephone service and they responded to 14,000 Online Crisis Chat sessions.

2. Kanyana Wildlife is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to wildlife conservation. They care for sick, injured, orphaned, and displaced wildlife; breed threatened species; conduct training and research; and educate schools and community. Income from education and fundraising activities is used to fund their Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, set in a national park in the Perth Hills and operating 8am-8pm every day of the year. Their only employee, a Hospital Manager, works with 300 volunteers to provide their services, which rely entirely on donations and grants.

3. Centre for Asylum Seekers, Refugees and Detainees (CARAD) Inc. CARAD is voice for the rights of asylum seekers, refugees and detainees and a provider of essential services, ensuring that all people seeking safety in Australia are able to live with dignity. Since opening its doors in 2000, CARAD has provided support to over 5,000 asylum seekers, refugees and detainees through its Case Management and Volunteer Programs.

Services provided by its Case Management program for clients with little or no income include: a weekly foodbank which provides fresh food, groceries toiletries and baby items, emergency relief payments and rent assistance. CARAD’s Volunteer Program provides support including: social visits for people in immigration detention, English language and homework help for refugees and asylum seekers in the community and weekly community lunches.

It’s the busiest shipping lane in the world and is a distance of 34kms/21miles (or many more depending on the tide and current). I expect I’ll need to swim continuously for somewhere between 12 and 20 hours (this means no breaks, no sleeping). It will include swimming through the night. I’ll have a support boat right beside me with an official observer to monitor various channel conditions and to ensure that I’m following the ‘Channel Rules’. This includes not touching the boat or anyone or thing from it. All food and drinks will be handed to me using a long pole, in a net or in a bottle attached to a long piece of string.

There are a lot of factors that combine to make the swim hard; it’s not necessarily the distance. It’s the unpredictable weather, strong currents and cold water - 13°C to 17°C - that make it most challenging (hypothermia accounts for a large percentage of the unsuccessful attempts).

What sets many a successful swim apart is the indomitable will and mental strength of the swimmer. The key is preparation and planning for the inevitable roller coaster of emotions. The isolation of being in the water on your own for such a long time, combined with fatigue, hunger and feeling cold, are often said to make the swim 10% physical and 90% mental. Apparently, more people have climbed Mt Everest than swum the Channel solo.

The Channel Rules dictate that I’m only allowed to wear regular bathers (i.e. no thermal protection, no race suits), one bathing cap and goggles. Therefore, it’s imperative I acclimatise to cold water. So, counting down the 500 days until I expect to swim, I’ve been taking and will continue to take cold showers/baths. I will also swim through another Perth winter in our Swan River, where the water temperatures can drop as low as 10°C. As I’ll have to swim at night, there’ll be late night and very early training sessions to get used to swimming in darkness.

The lead up to my Channel swim will include various fundraising milestones as well as participation in the following events:

• Rottnest (“Rotto”) Channel Swim on Saturday 24 February 2018 – 19.7km solo crossing;
• Port to Pub Swim on Saturday 25 March 2018 – Ultramarathon 25km solo crossing; and
• A Rotto double crossing (on a date to be set sometime in April or May 2018) - 39.4km double solo crossing.

I will personally be fully funding my training programme, the various swims leading up to and including the English Channel swim, as well as my Channel Swimming Association registration and boat pilot fees, airfares, accommodation and all other associated costs (for me and my support crew).

All funds I manage to raise will be divided equally and go directly to my three chosen charities.

It will really mean a lot to have you support these charities and follow me on this journey. Please click on the DONATE NOW button to make a donation (of any size).

• Instagram @s_l_wells
• Facebook


Hi there,

Here's the link to track my English Channel swim this evening. We'll be setting off at around midnight (GMT) tonight, which is 7am Perth/AWST.

The majority of live updates and commentary will be on my Facebook page:

I look forward to catching up on the otherside.

S x
It appears I can now provide an update since the forecast has been relatively stable for 48 hrs. Prior to this, the weather has literally changed hour to hour, every day since I arrived in Dover on 13 September. But I'd prepared for some waiting around and things going wrong. I've now been given a time to swim. Sadly, the fairytale conditions of July/August were too good to last and swimming the Channel is going to be every bit as tough as the stories from past years. Generally, I feel pretty happy and excited about swimming. But I'd be kidding if I didn't admit to worrying about having lost some fitness; an aching left shoulder; no longer having my coach and another member of my support crew with me; and that the air and water temperatures have dropped dramatically since I've been here. I'll also be swimming on a stronger spring tide; meaning, I need to maintain a minimum pace of 3km per hour for 14 - 15+ hours.

But I'm going to give this my best shot and I have no intention of giving up! Every bit support you can give, whether it be a short note (via my Facebook account) that my support crew can read out to me during my swim; or a donation to my 3 charties through MyCause will be very much appreciated and will make this challenge so much more rewarding. Thank you x

Current departure time: 12.30am GMT Tuesday, 25 September ie 7.30am Perth/WST on the same date.

The majority of live updates and commentary will be on my personal Facebook page:

Instagram: @s_l_wells

Boat: Louise Jane
Pilots: Andy and James King
Live tracking:
It's now a little over two months or 64 days until my window opens to swim the Channel and reality is setting in. I'm super excited and of course nervous at the same time.

I want to say another massive thank you for donating to my 3 charities through Mycause. Together we've raised 74% of my target.

It would be great if you could share the link to my fundraising page and help me reach $30k before I fly to the UK on 11 September.

Here is a link to today's business section of the West Australian where I'm pictured with the best training partners a girl could wish for, Paul Miller (on the left) and Alan Tietzel (right). They too will be attempting to swim solo across the English Channel this September.

Please take a read and remember every little bit helps. Thank you!
How did you get to work this morning? It was a chilly commute for Serena Wells who swam from her North Fremantle home to her office in Dalkeith.

The unusual 11.5km route is a warm-up for the longer, colder swim to France from England in September. Serena is training for the Channel Swim, raising money for three charities close to her heart.

Read her story and mad training schedule on the front page of this week’s POST. Download a copy via the free PressReader app or read it online:

Photo: Billie Fairclough @ POST Newspaper
Good afternoon and welcome to the first day of winter!

I think most of you are already aware I’d been planning to complete 3 big swims (in the lead up to the English Channel this September), but had a bit of a setback after realising I’d completed a Rottnest solo crossing (my 5th) with 2 fractured ribs!

My training’s now back on track and I still intend to complete some other big swims, including one next Friday when I'll 'Swim to Work’ by 'Swimming the Swan to Sunset'.

Given the English Channel water temperature can range between 13°C to 17°C and part of this swim will occur during the night, a big part of my training involves acclimatising to cold water as well getting used to swimming in the dark.

So over the next several days as you’re getting in and out of your warm beds and rugging upon these chilly mornings, you might want to think of me departing North Fremantle at 4.30am to swim, hugging the shoreline, around Minim Cove, Chidley Point, Mosman and Freshwater bays to Claremont Jetty, Bishop Road and Point Resolution reserves until I reach the Sunset Heritage Precinct, where I work.

I’ve measured this to be about 11.5kms and estimate that it could take any where between 3 and 4 hours depending on the current. I expect the water temperature will be around 16°C.

Please feel free to come down to cheer me on from the shore or meet me at the bottom of Iris Avenue, Dalkeith (where I'll finish) with warm rugs and hot coffee :)

And of course, it would be great if you could share this message to help raise further awareness and more funds for my 3 chosen charities.

S x
Two days until I set off on the first of my four big swims; the 19.7km Solo Rottnest (“Rotto”) Channel Swim. If you wish to track my swim live, you should go to: I’m competitor No 85 and I'll be wearing a white cap (just like the photo).

I also wish to thank you for supporting me and donating to my three chosen charities. Together, we've raised $20,080; and with just over 200 days to go until my English Channel Swim, I'm hopeful that I'll exceed my current goal of $30k.

If you're able to SHARE my campaign NOW on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and/or email, that would be fabulous.

Thank you again.
S xxx
WOW! Thank you so so much to everyone who's donated. My original goal of $15k was reached on 9 January and within 100 days of my fundraising campaign.

I'm really grateful for the interest and support you've shown. You are the champions who keep me motivated!

With 250 days until my English Channel swim window opens, I'm now increasing my fundraising goal to $30k: $10k each for my 3 chosen charities.

Thank you again xoxoxo
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$32,470 raised
GOAL $30,000
208 donations
since Oct 2017
Fundraising for
My Cause Gift Fund for Centre for Asylum Seekers, Refugees and Detainees (CARAD), Lifeline WA and Kanyana Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre
Funds donated to the My cause Gift Fund will be split equally between the Centre for Asylum Seekers, Refugees and Detainees (CARAD), Kanyana Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre and Lifeline WA. The Trustees will always disburse funds to the nominated cause, however in the case that is not possible, the funds will be disbursed to a DGR charity at the trustees discretion.
About fundraiser
Serena Wells
Shenton Park WA

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