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Gravesham lifesaving instructor to swim Catalina Channel in America for the Make a Wish Foundation

PUBLISHED: 13:47 22 August 2017 | UPDATED: 13:54 22 August 2017

Kathy Batts when she finished another of her swims

Kathy Batts when she finished another of her swims

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Kathy Batts has previously swum the English Channel and around Manhattan Island

She's been doing long-distance swimming races since 1975She's been doing long-distance swimming races since 1975

A local lifesaving instructor will be attempting to swim the Catalina Channel, off the West Coast of America to raise money for the Make A Wish Foundation.

Kathy Batts, 57, is an instructor at Gravesham Community Leisure Limited, and will be tackling the swimming challenge on September 25, for the charity which grants wishes to children with life-threatening conditions.

She has experience as a long distance swimmer, having started the hobby in 1975, and competing in events around the country, including the 10.5 mile length of Lake Windermere.

She has swam in relays in the English Channel a total of 18 times, to date, and was a member of the first women’s team to swim around the Isle of Wight.

She’s swam from England to France, around Manhattan Island, and the length of Loch Lomond - she is the oldest of only 57 people to do so.

Ms Batts, said: “I am excited but at the same time apprehensive as it is a huge challenge in a part of America I do not know and the swim is known as being difficult.

“I have swum during the night more times that I can remember but I have never had the shadow of what might be a pod of dolphins, a whale or a great white shark pass underneath me, that is where the mental challenge will come into its own.

“I want to continue these big swims all the time I have my health and am fit enough to do so.”

The total swim in the Catalina Channel is 20 miles, and if completed will give Ms Bates the Triple Crown consisting of the English Channel, around Manhattan and the Catalina Channel.

On September 26 she will have the support of three people who accompanied her on all her major swims.

She flies out to California on September 16 and begins her channel swim at midnight on September 25 so will be swimming throughout the night. The winds are not as strong and there is less active marine life including seals, dolphins and great white sharks.

To sponsor Ms Batts, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/kathy-batts2

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