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Teenage swimmer, Alexandra Woods from Tasburgh, completes English Channel challenge

A teenager, with aspirations of competing in the Olympics, has completed a challenge to swim the equivalent of the English Channel.

Alexandra Woods, from Tasburgh, took on the 21-mile swim on June 1 and took around 10 hours in a single swim to reach the required distance.

The 14-year-old Long Stratton High School pupil raised around £2,000 for St Felix School Swimming Club, of which she is a member, and the East Anglian Air Ambulance.

14 year-old Long Stratton High School student Alexandra Woods with some of the medals she has won so far. Picture: Mark Bullimore
14 year-old Long Stratton High School student Alexandra Woods with some of the medals she has won so far. Picture: Mark Bullimore

Her dad, Darren, said: “We are very proud of her. This was all her idea and was inspired by the film Nyad, which sees Diana Nyad swim from Cuba to Florida.

“As you have to be 16 to swim the English Channel, she wanted to do the equivalent in her club pool.”

While Alexandra, who has low-level autism, had swollen eyes as a result of wearing goggles for such a long time, she never once looked like failing.

Alexandra has ambitions of making the 2028 Olympic swimming team. Picture: Mark Bullimore
Alexandra has ambitions of making the 2028 Olympic swimming team. Picture: Mark Bullimore

“She just kept going,” said Mr Woods. “I think her autism let her zone out and get into her own space, which really helped.”

The multi-medal-winning regional swimmer, who wants to be a vet when she is older, has a dream of making it to the 2028 Olympics.

To help her achieve her aim, she has a gruelling schedule that sees her train an hour away in Southwold twice a week – a point of struggle more for Mr Woods than the youngster.

“I’m 56 and I struggle to get up at just after 4am to take her,” he said.

“But she is always there, rattling the door to go, because she has this drive to get in the pool and swim.

“She still wants to take on the English Channel properly when she turns 16, so we will all support her and see where it goes.”

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