Mariya ready to face the cold of English Channel in memory of her dad

PUBLISHED: 16:08 26 July 2017 | UPDATED: 16:31 26 July 2017

Mariya Krestyanska training in Clevedon.

Mariya Krestyanska training in Clevedon.


A Portbury woman is embarking on a 21-mile swim of the English Channel in memory of her dad.

Mariya Krestyanska.Mariya Krestyanska.

Mariya Krestyanska has been planning the swim for the past two years, and is hoping to take on the challenge next week.

If she is successful, she will be the first Ukrainian-born woman ever to complete the swim.

Mariya, who lives with her wife Amanda, has been swimming since she was a child growing up in Ukraine, and was a coach for a team in Denmark for many years.

Mariya, aged 32, originally planned to take part in a challenge after her father died in 2009, and it was Amanda who suggested the English Channel.

Mariya KrestyanskaMariya Krestyanska

She has been training for the past year, with swims lasting up to eight hours.

She said: “The main challenge so far while training has been the cold. Even though I have done lots of other things like iron man and triathlons, they are nothing compared to this.

“The cold is hard, because you can’t do anything about it – you just want to get out.”

The temperature of the English Channel can be as little as 14C and the swim’s traditions means Mariya will wear an ordinary swimsuit rather than a wetsuit.

The challenge can take anywhere between 15 and 20 hours to complete, depending on the weather and tides.

Mariya will be accompanied by a pilot boat, manned by a fisherman, who will navigate her through the busy Channel traffic.

Amanda will also be on board to give encouragement.

Mariya said: “She is my personal trainer. She knows everything about my training and how I react in the water.

“I would not manage without her.”

Swimmers are allotted a week to take on the challenge, and Mariya will pick a day based on the weather. It means the swim could take place any time between Saturday and August 6.

Mariya hopes to give talks to schools about her experience, and can be contacted on Facebook. People can also track how her swim is going on her Facebook page.

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the North Somerset Times. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the North Somerset Times