The Tough Girl Podcast: Celebrating Women's Resilience in Open Water Swimming

The Tough Girl Podcast: Celebrating Women’s Resilience in Open Water Swimming

Hosted by Sarah Williams, the “Tough Girl Podcast” has become a significant voice in inspiring and empowering women through the narrative of personal challenges and triumphs. Since its inception in 2014, the podcast has attracted a global audience, boasting over 3 million downloads and recognition among the top 1% of podcasts worldwide. Sarah has committed to raising the profile of female adventurers in the media. Her efforts have garnered the podcast a global audience in over 210 countries and ranks in the top 1% globally. Noteworthy accolades include the Women’s Sports Trust #BeAGameChanger Media Initiative of the Year and recognition as the Best Adventure Sports Podcast.

Highlighted Open Water Swimming Episodes:

Gráinne Moss: Navigating Open Waters
Gráinne Moss stands out as one of Ireland’s premier open water swimmers. With groundbreaking swims across Cook Strait, Lake Taupō, and Foveaux Strait, her episodes delve into the exhilarating world of long-distance swimming. Gráinne shares insights from her illustrious career, including triple crown achievements in Ireland and New Zealand, and her philanthropic efforts in conjunction with Kenzie’s Gift.

Sarah Thomas: Ultra Marathon Swimmer – Breast Cancer Survivor
Sarah Thomas, a record-holding ultra-marathon swimmer, shares her incredible story of swimming across the English Channel four times consecutively after surviving breast cancer. Her episode not only highlights her physical feats but also her immense psychological resilience.

Cath Pendleton: First Person to Swim One Mile Inside the Antarctic Polar Circle
Cath Pendleton takes us on a chilling adventure to the Antarctic where she completed an Ice Mile. Her experiences provide not only a gripping tale of extreme conditions but also reflect her dedication to pushing the boundaries of what is physically possible.

Paula Craig MBE: Embracing the Unknown – Transforming Challenges into Triumphs in Sports and Life

A former runner and triathlete, she completed the London Marathon six times before a devastating cycling accident in 2001 left her paralyzed from the waist down. Not one to be deterred, Paula redefined her athletic career by returning to compete in the London Marathon as a wheelchair athlete just 11 months post-accident. Her pursuits expanded to include multiple triathlons, where she earned gold medals at three world championships. Honored with an MBE for her services and the Helen Rollason Award for Inspiration, Paula’s indomitable spirit shone brightest when she swam the English Channel in a relay in 2022, making history as the first person with a complete spinal cord injury to achieve such a feat under Channel rules.

Sophie Etheridge: Championing Inclusive Swimming
Sophie Etheridge, a disabled long-distance swimmer, advocates for inclusivity in open water swimming. After a life-altering accident, Sophie’s journey back into the water led her to found ADOWS, a community supporting disabled swimmers. Her episode explores the challenges and victories of swimming with disabilities, and her collaborative work to enhance event accessibility.

Winnie Poaty: Embracing Open Waters for Mental Wellness
Winnie Poaty’s episode is a heartfelt narrative that travels from her roots in the Republic of Congo to her life-changing encounters with open water in the Lake District. Winnie discusses the therapeutic effects of swimming on her mental health and offers motivational insights encouraging others to overcome cultural barriers and find solace in swimming.

Abhejali Bernardová: Extreme Ultra-Triathlon from Dover to Prague
Abhejali Bernardová of the Czech Republic completed a remarkable ultra-triathlon covering 1,111 km from Dover to Prague. This journey included a 34 km swim across the English Channel, a 895 km cycle through several European countries, and a 182 km run to her hometown, Cheb. Overcoming severe weather and logistical challenges, Bernardová’s endeavor took a total of 7 days, 12 hours, and 5 minutes. This episode delves into her motivations and the profound impact of her journey.

Alice Dearing: British Marathon Swimmer, World and European Junior Champion
Alice Dearing discusses her achievements as a marathon swimmer and her role as a co-founder of the Black Swimming Association, aiming to improve inclusivity in aquatics.

Gill Castle: Stoma Chameleon – Overcoming Trauma with Adventure
Gill Castle shares her profound journey of overcoming childbirth trauma and redefining her life through adventure, proving what is possible with a stoma and turning personal challenges into empowering achievements.

Beth French: From Buddhist Nun to Ultra-Marathon Ocean Swimmer
Beth French, from monastic life to mastering the vast open seas, offers a unique perspective on resilience and determination. A former Buddhist nun and a single mother to an autistic son, Beth has transcended her early struggles with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome to become a celebrated ultra-marathon ocean swimmer. This episode features a rapid-fire Q&A session with Beth, exploring the essentials of her training regimen, nutritional strategies, and her methods of preparation and celebration.

The Tough Girl Podcast is released every Tuesday and Thursday at 7 AM UK.