Derby Lacemaker, Louise West, is moving from studio to swimming pool in preparation for the 2020 Swimathon, the world’s largest annual fundraising swim.
On Friday 20 March, Louise, who is based at Connect Derby’s Friar Gate Studios, will join more than 21,000 swimmers in 600 swimming pools across the country to swim a distance of between 400m and 5k, to raise funds for Cancer Research UK and Marie Curie.
Louise will be taking to the water with three friends at the Derby Nuffield Health and Wellbeing centre, situated at Derbyshire County Cricket Club to take-on the 5k challenge.
The Swimathon, now in its 34th year, is an annual fundraising swim which raises money for charity and encourages the increased use of local swimming pools. Since it began, participants have raised more than £50 million for a variety of worthy causes.
In the lead-up to the Swimathon, Louise has embarked on a three-month training programme, working with coach Mark Pearce from Loughborough, who has previously trained world class triathletes through his business Intelligent Triathlon Training.
The training has focused on improving Louise’s stoke technique and swim times to help her reach her goal of completing the 5k challenge, which equates to 200 lengths, in just two hours.
Speaking about her Swimathon challenge, Louise said:
“I swam competitively in my youth, but after a spinal injury some years ago mostly returned to the pool in an attempt to stay mobile. It wasn’t until around three and a half years ago that I really got back into it.
“I’m very excited to be taking part in the 2020 Swimathon and can’t wait to do my bit to raise funds for these wonderful charities.
“The goal of swimming 5k in just two hours is a hard one, but I believe that with training I’m doing and the help I’ve received from my coach and trainer, I’ll be able to do it.”
Ann Bhatti, head of Connect Derby, added:
“Louise is an extraordinarily talented lacemaker and is a wonderful part of the community at Friar Gate Studios.
“I’d like to wish her all the very best with her training and hope everyone gets behind her fundraising efforts.”
Louise has more than 25 years’ experience in making, designing and teaching traditional and contemporary lace. She completed an MA ADAPT (Art and Design Applied Practice and Theories), at the University of Derby in 2013, majoring on 3D contemporary lace before setting up her own business, which is now based at Friar Gate Studios.
She has exhibited and published internationally and in 2017 she published a book of original patterns, which has been in high demand worldwide.
You can support her fundraiser at: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/louises-lacey-swimathon