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Local takes strait to qualify for Channel

Kristin Roe will brave the frigid waters of the Northumberland Strait to qualify to swim the English Channel.

Kristin Roe will brave the frigid waters of the Northumberland Strait to qualify to swim the English Channel.

But it’s nothing she hasn’t done before.

“I know the Northumberland Strait like the back of the hand,” said the Halifax resident. “I’ve been in that water so many times. I know all the pillars of that bridge, and the English Channel I have never seen except for on the television.”

Roe, 29, booked her slot to tackle the Channel one year ago. Since then, she’s been swimming four times a week for up to three hours at a time, running and lifting weights.

“It does sort of take over your life,” she said with a chuckle. “I’m normally up at 5:30 a.m. to be either in the pool or in Chocolate Lake to swim by 6.”

To qualify, Roe must swim continuously for six hours in waters below 16 C. She said on Sunday the Strait was around 13 C.

“I had to get the OK from my doctor, I had to send a swim resume it was crazy,” she said.

Roe is hoping her English Channel swim will raise $100,000 for the Stephen Lewis Foundation and the Nova Scotia Gambia Association. Roe is involved with both charities, which raise awareness of the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Africa.

Roe, an IWK Health Centre worker, completed a single crossing of the Strait in 2005, and a double crossing in 2008.

Marathon swimmers are not allowed to wear wetsuits, she said. Roe will be wearing a bathing suit, cap and goggles. She said marathon swimmers lube up in grease such as Vaseline and lanolin to add an extra layer of warmth and to prevent chaffing.

Roe is scheduled to swim Friday, but an Environment Canada wind warning leads Roe to believe her swim will not go forward until Saturday. If she qualifies, Roe will swim the Channel the last week of July.

 
 
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