The youngest woman to complete a solo row of the Atlantic has set off in her record-breaking attempt to become the first female to swim the length of the United Kingdom.
Jasmine Harrison began her grueling 900-mile trip from Land’s End in England to John O’Groats in Scotland on Friday, July 1, which she described as her “biggest challenge ever.”
The swimming instructor can only make progress when the tides are in her favor, meaning she’ll be in the water for six-hour periods before resting on a support boat.
And the candid 22-year-old admitted her first day was a “bit of a disaster” after strong winds hampered her progress and one of her support kayakers capsized.
But Jasmine remained upbeat about her prospects of completing the epic journey, which has only ever been made by two men in the past.
She said: “It was an interesting first day, just because we had to come back due to the North-Westerly wind.
“But it was great, it made me really excited for the rest of the journey.
“The next few days are going to be tough, but after that it’s going to be hopefully a bit more relaxed and a bit easier.
“We’re going to try and make a break for it today, get around St Ives and beyond.
“I’d say it’s bigger than rowing the Atlantic – it’s my biggest challenge ever.”
Jasmine, from Thirsk, England, said her initial progress hadn’t been helped by a few teething problems that her three-man support crew had encountered.
But she said that the team were now better prepared to face their upcoming challenges, and they hoped to make further progress on July 4.
She said of her first day: “It was kind of a bit of a disaster really, but at the end of the day, we know that I can swim it absolutely fine.
“We have learned a lot of what not to do…spirits are high and we’re happy.”
Last year, Jasmine became the youngest woman to row 3,000 miles across the Atlantic ocean, when she sailed from the Canary Islands to the Caribbean island of Antigua in just 70 days.
She said: “I knew that I wanted to do something to do with swimming for my next challenge because that’s what I’ve done my entire life.
“I have a lot more of a personal connection to swimming.
“For me, it’s more of a mental battle.
“Out in the Atlantic, the quickest way you’re going to get home is by rowing, but if you’re going up the coast of the UK, you can actually stop wherever you want to.
“I want to be given that option to quit and have to beat it and learn more about myself.”
Jasmine was originally going to swim between Greek Islands but decided to stick with the UK due to the Covid pandemic.
And she said jellyfish stings were one of her main worries about the swim.
Sean Conway, the first man to complete the swim in 2013, suffered ten jellyfish stings to the face and swallowed 50 liters of salt water during his challenge.
Jasmine believes it will be the longest staged swim a woman has ever completed and admits she doesn’t know what to expect as the challenge progresses.
It has only ever been done twice before – both times by men – and she says the two attempts were so different that it’s difficult to predict.
She added: “At least with the Atlantic row you know where you’re going and once you’re out, you’re out and off you go.
“Whereas this is going to take a lot of organizing throughout the entire thing.
“I was thinking of doing the channel or the width of the UK, but then last year I did a marathon with Sean Conway, who swam the length of Great Britain and I just thought, well why don’t I do that?
“It tied everything together. It was a bit of a moment, a brainwave going why didn’t you just think of that the first time?
“Overall a combination of everything made me want to take this on. Inspiration from the other people that have done it and the fact that I am primarily a swimmer over a rower.”
Produced in association with SWNS.
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